Fifty-eight STRIVE program graduates were honored at this week’s noon Mt. Vernon Rotary meeting.
Rotarian and STRIVE chairman Dennis McEnaney opened the ceremony by giving an overview of the program, reporting STRIVE is a partnership of the two Mt. Vernon Rotary clubs, the Mt. Vernon Township High School and the Rend Lake College Foundation, which coordinates monthly meetings for senior Mt. Vernon High School students. The program allows the students to learn job and life skills and offers mentoring.
During the seven sessions, many subjects are discussed, including finance and credit, employment opportunities, job interviewing and workforce requirements, college admission and scholarship application.
McEnaney acknowledged the efforts of the program’s main contributors, including Mt. Vernon Rotary West Past President and STRIVE co-chairman Gordon Roberts, Rend Lake College Foundation CEO Shawna Manion, Mt. Vernon Township High School staff including Dr. Mike Smith, Principal Wes Olsen, Assistant Principal Rob Pipher, counselor Jena Allen and STRIVE coordinators Lyndsey Moore and Christine Renth.
Based on academic achievement and attendance, STRIVE graduates Cierra Burgin and Dakota Foltz were the recipients of $250 scholarship grants and graduates Brittany Bodine and Jacob Ferguson were awarded Rend Lake College scholarships valued at $2,850 each.
McEnaney closed the program by congratulating the students and announcing 80 percent of the graduates had improved their grade point average during their senior year since joining the STRIVE program.