Riverview graduate Kyah Stuckey earned a two-year college scholarship by participating in Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children mentoring program.

Riverview High graduate Kyah Stuckey wasn’t thinking about how she was going to pay for college when she was in middle school, but she’s grateful it was on her mom’s mind.

“She had to take out student loans to pay for college and didn’t want that for me,” said Stuckey.

Her mom encouraged her to apply for Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children mentoring program, in which students are paired with a mentor and role model who provides emotional support, fosters confidence and helps them reach their academic goals. Students that complete the program earn a Florida Prepaid Scholarship on the condition that they meet the program’s standards.

Stuckey excelled in the program, graduating in 2021 with a two-year college scholarship. She’s currently attending Hillsborough Community College and hopes to one day work in the medical profession.

“The program and my mentor, Norma, really helped me prepare for life after high school,” she said. Stuckey is already applying for more scholarships to pay for the last two years of college.

The application period for the 2022 program opened on March 7 and runs through Monday, May 9. To apply for Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children mentoring program, students must be in the seventh or eighth grade, be enrolled in a Hillsborough County Public School, meet financial requirements (applicants must submit copies of a 1040 tax return and social security card) and have a minimum unweighted GPA of 2.5.

After preliminary application screenings, the highest scoring students will be selected for an interview with Hillsborough Education Foundation. Students who are considered to be promising candidates for the program will be invited to become Take Stock in Children scholars and will be paired with a caring volunteer mentor and guidance from a HEF college success coach throughout their high school years. Scholars take a pledge of commitment to stay in school, maintain good grades and make positive life choices throughout their high school years.

Take Stock in Children Program Director Joanne Sandoval said HEF is also accepting applications for mentors.

“Mentors meet with students at least twice a month, either in person or virtually, to provide guidance, support and hope for a brighter future,” she said.

To apply for the Take Stock in Children mentoring program, visit www.educationfoundation.com/tsic-scholarships. To learn more about becoming a mentor, visit www.educationfoundation.com/mentor-a-student or call 574-0271.

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MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.