Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students See the Payoff of Applying; Camden High's Class of 2010 Exceeds $5 Million in College Scholarships

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students See the Payoff of Applying; Camden High's Class of 2010 Exceeds $5 Million in College Scholarships

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON

KINGSLAND - A college degree can provide a lifetime of job security, but it can also mean years of debt in student loans.

But guidance counselors at Camden County High School believe students can still go to the college of their dreams - despite the cost - with the right preparation. And they are proving it.

Counselors started a program last year that netted the Class of 2010 more than $5 million in scholarships - eclipsing the previous record of $3.5 million - thanks to an aggressive program to help students plan for college.

Kristie Wood, head of the school's guidance department, said she and other counselors go into classrooms to tell students grades are important, but it takes extra effort outside the classroom to earn a scholarship.

She tells students there are many scholarships available, but they won't get them unless they apply. Some are for specific universities, while others give students the option of spending scholarship money at any school.

"We tell them it takes work to get them, but it's worth it," she said. "They don't understand how much it costs to go to college."

Karla Turner, whose twin daughters graduated in May, is thankful for the program. One daughter, Lauren, has a four-year scholarship to Mercer University where she is majoring in literature, with a minor in education.

Her other daughter Leanne earned a $1,700 scholarship to Georgia Southern University, where she is majoring in management.

"College was going to be a financial challenge for us," Turner said. "We have been blessed they were able to go to the schools they wanted to go to."

Students were awarded 388 scholarships last year because of the school's emphasis on taking college-level advanced placement classes, said Heath Heron, the program coordinator.

In 2005, Heron said, 107 students took advanced placement classes. Students earn college credit for each class they pass.

This year, 550 students are enrolled in the classes, which they can start taking in their freshman year, he said. …

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