Gov. Northam virtually congratulates future SEED Fund students in Southside

Southside Virginia News

(Video: Courtesy The Harvest Foundation)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam recently made a virtual visit to Southside Virginia to congratulate rising SEED Fund students in Martinsville and Henry County, as well as show his support for their future education.

“We believe in you. We want to be with you every step of the way and help you make your dreams come true,” Northam said in a video to this year’s kindergarten classes at Martinsville City Public Schools and Henry County Public Schools. “Listen to your parents and teachers when they tell you college is possible and waiting for you at home. We know you can do it. We are so proud of you and what your future holds.”

Back in September, The Harvest Foundation in September announced a $10.3 million investment over 13 years to guarantee high school graduates in Martinsville and Henry County will receive a free college education at Patrick & Henry Community College through the SEED Fund.

“I am very excited about the SEED program and its future impact on the Martinsville community,” said Dr. Zeb Talley, superintendent of Martinsville City Public Schools. “This will send hope to all our youth and families. In addition, it will lessen the opportunity gap for everyone.”

According to Sandy Strayer, superintendent of Henry County Public Schools, she is grateful to share this important gift with students and their families as they look to the future.

“As we continue to encourage our students to aim for their goals, the opportunity to extend their learning by attending P&HCC through the SEED Fund is a guarantee that those who wish to prepare for careers that require higher education can do so without also encumbering debt,” Strayer said.  

Jeannie Lowery, a kindergarten teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School, says she is thankful to the Harvest Foundation and P&HCC for investing in local children’s futures.

“It’s such a great feeling to talk to a kindergartner about their dreams for the future, about going to college to fulfill those dreams, and knowing that it’s a reality for them,” Lowery said.

Harvest President Kate Keller emphasized Northam’s message of hope as a beacon for future SEED Fund students and the entire Southside community.

“As Gov. Northam shared in his video to local kindergarteners, an entire generation of students has reassurance and hope through the SEED Fund that they can attend college and pursue their future dreams,” Keller said. “It all starts with a vision and hope for a brighter future. We can’t move forward in our community without hope.”

The president of P&HCC, Dr. Greg Hodges, describes the SEED Fund as part of the community’s resurgence.

“As Gov. Northam noted, SEED is really about the future of this community as an entire generation of students will never have to ask, ‘Can I afford to go to college?’” said Hodges. “That is the kind of investment that redefines and accelerates the economic renaissance already underway in our region.”  

To qualify for the SEED Fund, the foundation says a high school graduate must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5; be a resident of Martinsville or Henry County and have in-state residency status at the time of the award; file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year; and complete eight hours of community service prior to July 31 for each year of participation.

Students are eligible as soon as they graduate from high school, completing a GED program (high-school age population only) or a homeschool program. Then, once students finish their application to the fall semester at P&HCC, they need to complete an application to the SEED Fund on time.

Follow these links to learn more about the SEED Fund or The Harvest Foundation and its programming.

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