WINSTON-SALEM – If there’s a model for helping young North Carolinians get interested, get into and get through college – and yes, get it paid for – it’s the Crosby Scholars Partners program.
Begun in 1992 by organizers of The CROSBY National Celebrity Golf Tournament and sponsored initially by Sara Lee Corporation, the program asks students from Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in grades 6-10 to agree to remain drug-free, perform community service and attend sessions on test-taking, note-taking, the admissions process and college survival skills.
In return, Crosby Scholars helps the graduates with last-dollar scholarships to help pay for college.
And what a difference it’s made:
- Since 1993, the program has assisted over 33,000 students and graduated 9,904 Crosby Scholars.
- 11,600 students were enrolled this school year alone.
- 98% of participating high school seniors enrolled in a two- or four-year college immediately after graduation.
- Graduates went to 131 colleges and universities last year.
- The program has awarded $773,000 in scholarships this year, and $7.4 million since inception.
- It has helped leverage another $64 million to help students pay for college.
- The program expanded to Rowan County in 2013 and Iredell County in 2015.
- It has begun a Hispanic outreach program to ensure Crosby Scholars reflect the diversity of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
But beyond the numbers, the students tell the story.
Priscila Sosa Cruz graduated from Reagan High School in Pfafftown in three years and is a rising junior at Salem College with a triple-major in Communications, English and Creative Writing. At a dinner last week, Cruz told supporters she joined Crosby Scholars in 6th grade.
“Before it, I didn’t know (college) was reachable – it was unreachable for me,” she said. “I am now on my own path to success, and I would not be there without Crosby.”