HomeNewsLocal nonprofit wants to create school choice opportunities for families

Local nonprofit wants to create school choice opportunities for families

Glen Gaugh recently became the executive director of the Student Award Center, a relatively new initiative in Madison County whose objective is to raise funds to make available to families to award scholarships for academic choices.

“The Student Award Center was the vision of a local businessman, Raymond White, to support families who needed a school option outside public schools for whatever reason,” said Gaugh. “It may be because of their religious beliefs or the child may not be performing as well as they can or should be, and the parents want to see if another option might help somehow.

“I personally believe every child deserve the chance to succeed and every family deserves the chance to choose, and we know not every family has the means to make those choices because of financial limitations. This is a way to bridge that gap.”

The SAC awards scholarships, the first of which were awarded last spring.

“Our current recipients are Madison County residents, and we have four partner schools in Jackson private schools that we’re working with,” Gaugh said. “But it’s not just for private schools. Also home school cooperative programs and others like that are in the realm of what we do.”

Gaugh added that while everything is in Madison County, they’re working to spread the influence and partnerships of the Student Award Center throughout West Tennessee and past that eventually.

The Student Award Center is having an event coming up later this month that not only will be a fundraiser for the organization, but also a chance for interested people to gather information from different educational options in the region.

“We’re presenting an event we’re calling ‘A World of Opportunity’ in conjunction with West Tennessee School Choice Week, which will be [next week],” Gaugh said.

A World of Opportunity will be on Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Discovery Park of America. Private schools, co-ops, support services, advocacy groups, governmental offices and public school districts are all invited to have information available for any families wanting to bring their children to see about options.

Students are encouraged to enter an essay contest called “Why I Love My School!” where they write 500 to 700 words on why they enjoy learning at their school. Entrants are entered into a scavenger hunt throughout the Discovery Park that day with prizes available.

A World of Opportunity is free to register for and free for vendors. Registrants only have to pay the Discovery Park admission fees for January as they celebrate their 10-year anniversary of $10 for adults and students under 18 get in for free.

“We’re looking forward to a fun day, and hopefully a day in which families can see that there are options for their students to see their education quality really improve,” Gaugh said. “That’s what the Student Award Center wants to accomplish for as many people as possible.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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