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Tennessee Scholars program to graduate 320 Wilson seniors

Staff Reports • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam will be the speaker for the 10th anniversary of Tennessee Scholars, according to Sue Vanatta, president of the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. 

The Tennessee Scholars Wilson County program began in 2005 to encourage Wilson County high school students to take more rigorous courses of study during their four years in school. This is a joint effort with the chamber and the business community. 

The Tennessee Scholars initiative is endorsed by the Tennessee Department of Education as a part of the Three-Star Program for Excellence.  

“This year is a special one for this graduation,” Vanatta said. “Wilson County Tennessee Scholars is celebrating 10 years, and this is the only program in Wilson County that brings high school seniors from every county high school and all private high schools for a graduation ceremony.”

Tennessee Scholars is open to Tennessee students in school districts that choose to implement the program. Upon completion of the requirements, the graduate is eligible to enjoy the benefits of any scholarships, jobs, or other incentives only offered to Tennessee Scholars.  

The students are required to complete four English courses, four math courses, three lab science courses, three social studies courses, a personal finance course, one fine arts class, two foreign language classes and two career technical education courses or two additional Advanced Placement courses. Additional requirements for students include 80 hours of volunteer service to the community, maintaining a “C” average in all required classes, having a 95 percent attendance rate – which means the student cannot miss more than 36 total days in four years of high school – and have no out-of-school suspensions.  

Vanatta said local industry and business leaders said they would hire a Tennessee Scholars graduate before another person. As a graduate of this program, company leaders realize this employee will be at work on time, will work daily and be an excellent employee for their company.

“A special thank you is extended to Genesco Inc.,” Vanatta said. “Genesco has been the sponsor of the Wilson County Tennessee Scholars graduation ceremony since its inception.”  

Seven scholarships will be given at the graduation ceremony Thursday, including three from the Genesco sponsorship, two from the Chamber Education Division, one from Old Hickory Credit Union and one from the Mt. Juliet-West Wilson Chamber of Commerce.  

“Parents are crucial to the student’s success in the scholars initiative,” Vanatta said. “The Tennessee Scholars program offers better jobs, stronger candidates for certain types of financial aid and scholarships, and with the parents encouragement and support, students succeed in this challenging academic program.”

Parents, teachers, counselors and principals are invited to the graduation ceremony at Cumberland University’s Dallas Floyd Recreation Center, Vanatta said. The ceremony will be at 7 p.m., and all students eligible must be registered by 6:15 p.m. 

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