Palm Beach State College Lake Worth campus. [Photo by Palm Beach State College]
Every graduate of Palm Beach Lakes and Forest Hill community high schools is guaranteed a full scholarship to Palm Beach State College through the Stephen M. Ross Emerging Scholars program, established by Related Cos. and announced this month during a ceremony at Gaines Park in West Palm Beach.
An $8 million gift from the Related Together foundation launched the program to assist West Palm Beach seventh- to 12th-graders through their postsecondary education. Developed with the Foundation for Palm Beach State College and its CEO, David Rutherford, the college’s vice president of institutional advancement, the program focuses on students’ long-term success.
“You want to live to have an impact and do things that can really benefit people,” Related Cos. Chairman Stephen Ross says. “West Palm Beach and Related Together are really in a position to do that and become the model city for this country.”
The initiative aims to provide students and schools with the necessary resources for postsecondary attendance, retention and completion by integrating Palm Beach State advisers within high schools and collaborating with school counselors to assist students in navigating dual enrollment selection and registration.
“This gift is going to accelerate opportunities for West Palm Beach residents and businesses by helping remove the leading barrier to economic growth, and that’s the knowledge gap,” college President Ava L. Parker says. “What’s so amazing about working with Stephen and his vision is that he understands that it’s not enough just to say to 12th-graders, ‘It’s time to go to college, and here’s a scholarship.’”
An Early College Academy with academic advisers and student mentors is being established to emphasize West Palm Beach students’ preparation for science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Related Together will allocate money annually for six pillars: education; housing; income and employment opportunities; access to health care; engagement in arts and culture; and digital accessibility.
Ceremony attendees included Related Together board Chairman Gopal Rajegowda, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and Commissioners Christina Lambert, Christy Fox and Cathleen Ward, Quantum Foundation President Eric Kelly, and former PBSC board Chairwoman Carolyn Williams.
To learn more about the program, visit www.relatedtogether.org.