By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: June 27, 2019 | 10:02 a.m.
SURRY – When ACCESS President and CEO, Bonnie Sutton spoke at the May 14th Surry County School Board Meeting, her enthusiasm about the upcoming expansion of their program to include Surry and Southampton County, as well as Franklin City Schools for the 2019-20 School Year, was contagious.
“We are beyond excited to expand into Western Tidewater,” said Sutton. “Our goal is to work closely with school districts to enhance the good work they are already doing and provide additional resources and guidance for students to attend college, as well as grow the healthcare field in this area. Students may not think higher education is for them, whether financially, academically or socially, but that’s where we excel. We’ve helped over 60,000 students in our 31 years and we can’t wait to help even more.”
Starting in September, a full-time ACCESS Advisor will serve nearly 400 seniors attending Surry County High School, Franklin High School, and Southampton High School to expand the college-going culture within these school districts.
According to Sutton, the ACCESS College Foundation project, funded by the Obici Healthcare Foundation, currently provides higher education resources and support in 30 public high schools in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Northampton County. Next year that number will grow to 33.
A press release provided by Sutton further explained that “ACCESS will also work to build the area’s healthcare workforce by matching ‘Scholars’ to health-related career opportunities in Western Tidewater.” It also indicated that the ACCESS College Foundation, founded by local philanthropists Frank Batten, Sr. and Joshua P. Darden, Jr., provides a path for students who may not have the opportunity to attend and complete college. It also explained that the program, so far, “has leveraged $650-million in financial aid and scholarships, as well as offered guidance and support, to help 60,000 students achieve their higher education goals.”