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Outreach scholarships help Longview students reach college goals

By Bridget Ortigo
Aug. 1, 2014 at 11 p.m.


Ten Longview High School graduates will launch a community outreach organization today by awarding scholarships to three area high school students.

Members of the organization have been working and talking for years about how to help youth in their hometown.

"What we came up with was ACE - Academic Community Empowerment," said member Kedarious Colbert. "This is an organization created by youth for youth. We want to show that the youth are giving back."

The nonprofit group focuses on assisting black males in high school with reaching their college goals.

"After we all graduated in 2007 from Longview High School, we went off to college and kept hearing stories about the academic performance in Longview," Colbert said. "There was a growing gap in academic performance between students of color and their white counterparts."

That's when Colbert said the discussions really began to get something going.

"We wanted to come back and redevelop the community by using the schools," said Colbert, who has a master's degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University. "We want to show them people who are positive influences that look like them, to show them they can be graduates, go to college and have careers."

The organization was able to raise $1,700 for scholarships by using www.gofundme.com.

"We will award $1,000 to our top scholarship winner, $500 to our second-place winner and $200 to our third place winner," Colbert said.

"Our top scholarship winner also will receive a black suit and three inspirational books, one authored by our guest speaker for the launch, Kevin Powell."

The launch event will also see gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as a guest speaker.

"The event is free to the public, and we encourage everyone to come out," Colbert said. "This is our first class of scholars, and we're excited that we can give back."

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