Ed Gray, Executive Director of the Capital Trust Agency (CTA), was one of two Outstanding Partners recognized for advancement of the Take Stock program during the Annual Meeting of the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation last week.
Escambia County Schools Superintendent Malcolm Thomas praised the generous financial support the partners provided the foundation in its critical partnership with county schools.
“Having a foundation is really not an option anymore,” he said. “It is simply no longer possible to do everything we need to do for the students in the classroom using public funds alone.”
During the past year, teacher grants from the Foundation reached a record of $91,000 and special partnerships contributed to a significant expansion in the number of Take Stock in Children Scholarship recipients. Take Stock in Children Scholarships are privately funded for deserving at-risk or low-income students to escape the cycle of poverty through education. College scholarships and caring volunteer mentorship combine to offer opportunities and hope for a better life..
“Mr. Gray served from 2002 to 2010 on the Santa Rosa School Board, and has been a strong advocate for education for years,” praised Thomas. “Since 2007, the Capital Trust Agency under Ed Gray’s leadership has provided the funding for 17 scholarships, and nine students are currently enrolled in college due to this generosity. The importance of this support cannot be understated.”
Gray accepted the award on behalf of the Capital Trust Agency (CTA) Board of Directors, a body he said had committed to funding such scholarships in both Escambia and Santa Rosa County.
Shanteeria Greene, a Take Stock scholarship recipient sponsored by CTA, is currently enrolled in PSC’s Sonography program. She said that without the funds, there was no doubt she could not be attending college.
Each of the students also is also afforded a lap top to take to college, which Shanteeria said was a critical tool in the modern classroom.
“Oh, yeah,” she said with a broad smile, “so many assignments are sent to us on the web, and a lot of our work has to be submitted electronically. Our laptops are great!”
“I am so very grateful for this opportunity,” she said, “without the scholarship, attending college would be a distant dream. It is life-changing to be able to study for my career. It is even more amazing because my mom is not having to work two jobs to pay the bills and put me through college, and she is also a college student studying Business Management.”
Take Stock in Children’s high school dropout prevention and college attainment efforts pay off. State-wide, Take Stock scholars boast an impressive 94 percent graduation rate, and have the opportunity to go on to prepaid college, in most cases overcoming very real obstacles.