BY JEFF JAMES

Known by some, but not all, Crosby Scholars is a program that all Iredell-Statesville Schools students should explore. It is free to students in grades 6-12 in Iredell County. At the heart of the Crosby Scholars program is a belief that any and all students who have the desire to go to college should have the opportunity to attend.

The program works to assist students and parents navigate the ever- changing world of college admissions and financial aid so that the doors of opportunity remain open to all students. Students can join as early as sixth grade and as late as 10th grade. The program targets all students, not just those seeking a four-year program.

So what is the Crosby Scholars program? A brief history walk helps us uncover its rather unique beginning. The program has had a significant impact on our community and others in North Carolina.

In 1937, entertainer Bing Crosby started a small golf tournament in California. The event, which paired Hollywood celebrities with golf pros, eventually became large enough to provide funds to several golf and education charities. With a 60-year history, The CROSBY National Celebrity Golf Tournament was the nation’s longest running charity golf tournament. After Bing died in 1977, the tournament continued in his honor. Kathryn Crosby, his widow, moved the tournament from California to the Bermuda Run Country Club near Winston-Salem.

The Crosby Scholars Program was started in 1992 by the organizers of The CROSBY, which was
hosted and coordinated by the Sara Lee Corporation, with corporate sponsors from across the
nation.

In July 2012, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina Inc. and The Crosby Scholars Community Partnership announced the formation of a strategic alliance that established Crosby Scholars as an independent affiliate of Goodwill. In addition to providing funding for Crosby Scholars in Forsyth County, the affiliation also offered a unique opportunity to replicate and expand the Crosby Scholars model within Goodwill’s 31-county northwest North Carolina territory.

In January 2015, the second off-shoot of this strategic alliance was launched – The Iredell County Crosby Scholars Community Partnership. The 2015-2016 academic year saw Iredell Crosby Scholars serving more than 2,000 students. During the spring of 2018, the program celebrated with the first graduating class of 131 seniors.

What services does Crosby Scholars offer to students?

Potential benefits for students

● Students explore careers and colleges to find the best fit
● Gain leadership skills
● Learn to balance school and extracurricular activities
● Free college visits and planning
● Help with college and scholarship applications
● Free advisor to help you through your college applications
● Earn an honors cord for graduation
● Recognition on your high school transcript for participating in the program

Potential benefits for parents

● The college application process is incredibly complex; Crosby personnel are experts that
keep up on all the latest trends, including those related to COVID-19
● Learn about financial aid/how to pay for college
● Help to understand the college application process
● Free advisor to work individually with high school seniors
● Access to scholarships and grants that are only available to Crosby Scholars participants
● Crosby Scholars pursue a variety of post-secondary schooling, including trade school, technical school, 2-year associates degree, and traditional 4-year programs. Crosby can help all students find their passion and their path.
● The program only requires four hours a year time commitment. The more students participate,
the more they gets out of it.
● Crosby staff members work in conjunction with the I-SS guidance counselors.

Partnerships like Crosby are simply invaluable to our students, parents, and our community.
Whether students are interested in pursuing a technical degree or going on to a four-year university, Crosby Scholars provides support for our students. I would encourage any parent to explore the options of enrolling their child in this program. For more information, visit https://www.crosbyscholarsiredell.org/

Dr. Jeff James is the Iredell-Statesville Schools superintendent.

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