New initiative benefits Arkadelphia High students
— From left: Dr. Steve Adkison, HSU provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Glen Jones, HSU president; and David Maxwell, AHS principal
Arkadelphia High School students who earn advanced diplomas will have the opportunity to earn a new type of scholarship at Henderson State University starting with the university’s fall 2016 entering class.
The Badger College and Career Reddie Scholarship program was announced at a Jan. 29 event in the Arkadelphia High School gymnasium. The initiative is designed to focus on students who have the determination to finish a rigorous academic program and maintain a minimum 3.3 grade point average (GPA) each semester.
Henderson State Provost Dr. Steve Adkison applauded both the rigor of the advanced diploma and the college-going rate for AHS graduates. The advanced diploma requires 27 credits, including numerous Advanced Placement courses, upon graduation with a GPA of 3.300 or greater per semester.
“This scholarship does not require a minimum ACT score, as we firmly believe a student’s ACT score is not the sole indicator of college readiness,” Adkison said. “By earning an advanced diploma, the students who will receive the Badger College and Career Reddie Scholarship have demonstrated their motivation and grit in a challenging academic environment. These are the very students we want to see at Henderson State; we don’t have any doubt that they are ready to succeed.”
The university and Arkadelphia High have always shared a special relationship, AHS principal David Maxwell said, and the school district’s leaders have worked hard over a number of years to increase the demands of programs in order to prepare students for college success.
“This financial aid package came about because of our body of work,” Maxwell said. “It is hard work to have this level of rigor in a degree plan. It is hard work on the students, faculty and staff to maintain these standards, but as a campus family we believe this is the direction we should be going.”
The work done at AHS has paid off for students and their parents. About 87 percent of students from the 2014 graduating class who enrolled in college returned for their sophomore year.
Badger College and Career Reddie Scholarship recipients must enroll and complete 15 college hours per semester. Recipients may renew the scholarship for eight consecutive semesters as long as they complete 30 credit hours and maintain a cumulative 3.00 GPA for each academic year.
The Badger College and Career Reddie Scholarship is designed to fill any funding gaps the student may have for tuition, fees and books after primary sources of scholarships and financial aid are applied. The initiative will work hand-in-hand with the Arkadelphia Promise to make college a reality for more students.
"We are thrilled that Henderson State is coming alongside the Arkadelphia Promise and rewarding our AHS students for their hard work,” Arkadelphia Promise Executive Director Jason Jones said. “Making college more affordable through scholarships like these increases the number of students who will graduate from college and make themselves more marketable in the 21st century."
In addition to the Badger College and Career Reddie Scholarship, Henderson State University will be providing AHS students with the opportunity to receive early college credit as of the 2016-2017 school year.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed by Henderson State University President Glen Jones and Arkadelphia Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donnie Whitten, will be in effect beginning in August 2016 and is one of the dimensions of the larger Arkadelphia High/Henderson State early college partnership also marked by the new Reddie Scholarship.
"We have always been proud of our strong partnership with Henderson State University, and today’s announcement takes that partnership to the next level,” Whitten said. "The collaborative spirit between these two organizations is making a difference in the lives of our students and in our community. This is a great day for Arkadelphia Public Schools.”
Early college courses will include Intermediate Algebra/Algebra III, College Algebra and General Physics. Intermediate Algebra will be taught at AHS concurrently. College Algebra and General Physics will be taught on the campus of Henderson State University by HSU faculty.
These early college courses will allow Arkadelphia High students to engage in classes on the Henderson State campus alongside current college students, earning both high school and college credit.