Iin November, they applied for it. In February, they made it through the financial aid process. Then when spring rolled around, they met with advisors and chose a community or technical college.
Check, check and check.
Now, the final box of their Tennessee Promise Scholarship checklist awaits — eight hours of volunteer community service.
It’s something recent high school graduates have until Aug. 1 to complete if they want to remain eligible for the state scholarship that offers two years of tuition-free education.
To help them meet the deadline, Tennessee’s 56 state parks and natural areas are hosting volunteer events through a Tennessee Promise Saturday initiative July 23.
“It’s a way for our parks to connect students to outdoor opportunities here in Tennessee while supporting their academic goals,” Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of parks and conservation, said in a press release. “We’re excited to get as many students as possible involved in hands-on activities.”
Students in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland area have numerous opportunities to take advantage of Tennessee Promise Saturday. Projects — which are designed to beautify natural areas and provide meaningful outdoor volunteer experiences — include clearing brush, planting flowers, building trails, maintaining historic features and assisting with community events.
Krissy DeAlejandro, executive director of tnAchieves, the organization that administers Tennessee Promise in Putnam and 84 other counties, encourages scholars to contact the state park of their choice to register for a volunteer event, many of which are limited to a certain number of participants.
“We want our students to cultivate a culture of giving back that remains with them throughout their life,” she said in a press release. “While critical to remaining Tennessee-Promise eligible, this provides students with the opportunity to pursue their passions and explore potential career paths.”
Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that provides students with up to five semesters at a community college or eligible four-year institution with an associate’s degree program. It also offers eight trimesters at a technical college.