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Santa Fe College launches high school counseling program SF Achieve

High school students in Alachua and Bradford County will now receive college-wide counseling at their local high schools due to SF Achieve, Santa Fe College’s new mentoring program launched November 4.

The program places Santa Fe College advisors at every high school in Alachua and Bradford counties. The goal is to provide scholarships, textbook rewards, and show higher education options to high school students – from community colleges and trade schools to four-year universities.

The Alachua County School Board approved the agreement on November 2, and PK Yonge passed it two weeks later while the Bradford County School Board approved it in October, said Quentin Iman, director of the SF Achieve program.

Iman said more than 70 students have registered for SF Achieve as of Tuesday.

He said SF Achieve will create more college conscious students who are college ready.

“We want the college to be a reality for everyone as much as possible,” Iman said. “We view it as the golden ticket to a better, more prosperous, and more fulfilling future for all.”

There are four SF Achieve-trained college coaches who provide one-on-one support, as well as classroom offerings on career exploration, time management, and financial aid.

Mary Young is one of four professionals, working at Buchholz High School, Gainesville High School, North Central Florida Charter School, and Pace Girls’ Center. She hopes to help students understand what college really is.

“It helps them in the future, but it also strengthens them now, to give them a reason for all the hard work they already have to do,” Young said.

Once a student is registered with SF Achieve, they are enrolled in the Canvas course on college readiness, which they complete at their own pace.

From there, students can apply to be seekers of achievement and commit to enrolling at Santa Fe College. The Achieve Scholarship will bridge the gaps between financial aid and what a student can contribute.

Robert Gregory is another SF Achievement specialist who works at Newberry High School and Santa Fe High School, among others. He was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years.

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“What I hope to get out of this is a much better connection to the high school students’ idea that going to college isn’t as scary or a big process as they might think,” Gregory said.

Iman said he hopes that the program, along with the scholarships and book stipends it offers, will inspire high school students to consider higher education not just an academic decision, but a financial one.

“The college experience is a wonderful experience,” Iman said. “It’s a great personal experience for a lot of people. But really, it’s supposed to be a springboard. It’s supposed to be a place where you can get into that future, into that career, into that starting salary that you want.”

Contact Eve Thompson at ethompson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter: @evealanaa.

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Eve Thompson

Eve Thompson is a third-year specialty journalism covering Santa Fe. In the past, Eve worked as a news assistant in the university office. When she’s not sending in general recording requests or staring at a blank Google Doc, Eve can be found on a boat, usually listening to 70’s music.

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