tnAchieves, the model for and a partnering organization to the TN Promise scholarship in 90 Tennessee counties, directly supported its 100,000th student into college this fall.
Launched in 2008 as a college success program in Knox County, tnAchieves sent 267 students to an eligible institution its first year. Currently the program supports nearly 65,000 new high school seniors annually with over 18,000 students choosing a TN Promise community, technical or four-year college option each year. Although still built on a scholarship, community service and volunteer mentoring foundation, tnAchieves now supports students with immersive summer programs and proactive coaching. While the program operates at an expansive scale, the student-focused, community-based program seeks to meet students where they are and break down the barriers preventing them from earning college credentials.
To celebrate, tnAchieves will host webinars throughout the week of Oct.
5 highlighting its varied stakeholders. The celebration will begin Monday, Oct. 5 at 12:30 p.m. with a panel featuring former Governor Bill Haslam, University of Tennessee President and tnAchieves Chairman Randy Boyd and former Knox County Mayor and tnAchieves board member Mike Ragsdale. All three panelists were instrumental in creating the program in 2008 and have provided leadership during its growth over the past 12 years. Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings, Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause and Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum will participate in a panel highlighting the impact of the program across the state. The statewide leaders panel will take place Thursday, Oct. 8 at 12:30 p.m. Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn will also participate in a panel Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 a.m.
Additional panels will feature current TN Promise students, graduates, college presidents, tnAchieves volunteer mentors and business and community partners. The week will conclude with a panel featuring former United States Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter discussing the impact of TN Promise across the country, as well as a look at where the free college movement is heading. This panel will take place Friday, Oct. 9 at 12:30 p.m.
“While we understand there is still much work to be done, we want to take a brief pause to celebrate this meaningful moment of our work,” said tnAchieves Executive Director Krissy DeAlejandro. “We are excited to reflect on our past, thank our partners and, most importantly, highlight our incredibly hard working students that motivate us to wake up and do this work every day.”
“When we launched tnAchieves in Knox County in 2008, I thought it would be an incredible accomplishment if one day we sent 10,000 students to college,” said University of Tennessee President and tnAchieves Chairman Randy Boyd. “I would have never imagined that 12 years later we would support more than 100,000 students to college. This is a moment to celebrate but I know the dedicated team at tnAchieves and our partners are currently working on the next 100,000 college goers.”
tnAchieves would like to invite community members all across Tennessee to join the organization in celebrating this momentous occasion. You can learn more about the week-long celebration and register to attend the webinars at https://tnachieves.org/100kstudents/.
tnAchieves is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that has been providing scholarships with mentor support since 2008. To learn more about the program, visit www.tnAchieves.org or contact tnAchieves Deputy Director of Partnerships Graham Thomas at 615-604-1306.