It's been a long time coming for Holt High School senior Sarah Scott.
It's hard. It's hard out there," said Scott. "I'm glad it's my last year of high school."
Six years ago, along with 549 other 6th grade students from the Lansing School District and area charter schools, Sarah was named a H.O.P.E. scholar. If she graduates from high school next year, she'll be able to attend Lansing Community College for two years for free. Along with other hopeful graduates, Sarah met with LCC counselors Wednesday to discuss the degree programs and financial aid.
Local businesses, along with LCC, Michigan State University, and the Lansing Police Department among others, chose students who are in the greatest need and would benefit the most.
"It really is a matter of putting the future in front of them, showing them what that future is. Get the kids to reach for it," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
Since taking over, Lansing Schools Superintendent T.C. Wallace says his staff hasn't seen statistics of students dropping out of the scholarship program. He added he's anxious to see the results and that he's reasonably optimistic.
"The numbers and what they may show-- we just don't know," said Dr. Wallace. "But when you look at an activity like this, you see the youngsters participating, you see the parents and the grand parents...that in and of itself is a measure of success."
There are currently 2,200 H.O.P.E. scholars. Dr.Wallace says he's looking at the inaugural senior class to show that anyone and everyone can receive two free years of higher education.
"We're raising the bar. We have higher expectations, and we're going to have greater results, and you're going to see a greater emphasis on school and achievement," said Dr. Wallace.
The superintendent says he won't rest until all students cross the stage with diploma in hand-- with the opportunity for college in their grasp.