RIDGELY — The 2020–2021 academic year will see more than 595 students from the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education’s Next Generation Scholars program prepare to graduate from high schools in Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Wicomico counties, including 72 from Colonel Richardson High School and 129 from North Caroline High School. As they decide whether to attend college, begin a career or join the military, the Next Generation Scholars program has provided them with tools, knowledge, resources and experience to guide and support them regardless of the path they choose.

“It has been an honor to be part of such a helpful and life-changing program,” said Katherine Hernandez Marroquin, a senior at Colonel Richardson High School. “The Next Generation Scholars program has not only provided my parents and I the information needed to apply for college, but it has also provided life-changing experiences that have helped me improve important skills that I will need for my future career. This program has given us the opportunity to simulate job interviews, speak with people of different professions and travel to colleges. I am really thankful for the privilege I had to be part of such a helpful program.”

Since 2017, students participating in MBRT’s Next Generation Scholar program have gone on college campus tours, learned about career choices and education requirements, met with college admissions specialists, attended sessions on test preparation, participated in hands-on learning labs and so much more. All these activities have helped them prepare for high school graduation, college and better life choices.

“We are incredibly proud of our first class of seniors who are preparing to graduate from high school next spring,” said Brian Dulay, executive director of Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. “They have worked so hard on their academic journey, and their commitment to education is a commitment to a brighter future. Our Next Generation Scholars program demonstrates college is always a possibility, because all children — regardless of their situation — deserve the opportunity to graduate from high school ready for college or a career.”

Students in MBRT’s Next Generation Scholars program hail from various high schools, including: Fort Hill High School in Allegany County; Colonel Richardson High School and North Caroline High School in Caroline County; Cambridge-South Dorchester High School in Dorchester County; Kent County High School in Kent County and Wicomico High School in Wicomico County. During their senior year, Next Generation Scholars with a GPA of 2.5 or higher can apply for the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant that would provide them with up to $19,400 to attend a participating Maryland college or university.

For 30 years, MBRT has been connecting the business community with local schools through its Maryland Scholars Speakers Bureau and STEM Specialists in the Classroom programs. In 2017, MBRT added the Next Generation Scholars program, which provides funding through the Howard P. Rawlings Maryland Guaranteed Access Grant, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, to enhance education and career awareness as well as college completion for high school students with a demonstrated financial need. The Guaranteed Access Grant provides an award that will help cover the cost of full-time study at a Maryland college or university for low-income families.

Learn more about MBRT’s Next Generation Scholars at www.mbrt.org/nextgen.

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