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The Roane County Chamber, in partnership with the Roane County Schools, recognized a record number of 129 graduating seniors as Tennessee Scholars at a breakfast awards ceremony on April 23.
“The Tennessee Scholars program gives you a foundation to build upon to create a successful career,” said Wade Creswell, The Roane Alliance president.
“Roane County is competing with communities throughout the world to be the next location of new businesses,” he added. “For new companies to relocate in Roane County, our people are the key. We must be able to provide skilled, responsible, committed, and professional workers to our existing businesses as well as the next generation of companies that will come to Roane County soon.
“Our Tennessee Scholars are the lifeblood of our future workforce.”
Creswell was among the speakers who stressed the importance of their accomplishment and how it prepares them for future educational and career preparations.
Roane State Community College President Chris Whaley and Harriman’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology Director Danice Turpin emphasized the importance of continuing their education to prepare for demands of the technology-based workplace. They also discussed education financial assistance opportunities available.
“The goal of Tennessee Scholars is to increase the number of students graduating from high school with a rigorous academic course of study, which includes advanced math and science classes, that prepares them for higher education and the workforce,” said Allen Lutz, education and workforce development specialist for The Roane Alliance.
“Tennessee Scholars is about workforce preparedness, and workforce preparedness is the No. 1 factor businesses consider when looking to locate in a community,” he added. “If we don’t have a skilled workforce, businesses will not come here.”
Roane County Director of Schools Gary Aytes congratulated his students for the time and effort they invested in becoming a Tennessee Scholar. Several of the seniors receiving the award remember Aytes when he was a classroom teacher.
At the ceremony, the seniors received a Tennessee Scholars certificate and medallion from Creswell and Aytes. Students will wear their medallions at their high school graduation ceremonies. Their high school diploma will also have the Tennessee Scholars seal.
In addition to a rigorous course of study, Tennessee Scholar students must maintain an overall “C” average, have 95 percent or higher attendance, pass end-of-course tests, have no out-of-school suspensions, and complete a minimum of 80 hours of community service during their four years of high school.
The Tennessee Scholars is a Chamber led program conducted in partnership with local businesses and Roane County Schools.
The Roane County United Way received special thanks for its financial support of the Tennessee Scholars program.
The program is a part of the United Way’s Education Involvement Initiative, which engages students and parents to get them actively involved in understanding and realizing the value of higher education.
The Chamber is a partner in The Roane Alliance, Roane County’s economic development organization.