AGS participating in educational talent search
Au GRES — For the first time, Au Gres-Sims is participating in the educational talent search (ETS) program through Alpena Community College.
AGS Principal Chad Zeien said the program is open to students in grades six through 11, and help in career preparation, setting realistic goals, and pointing students in the right direction to reach those goals.
Zeien said traditionally Alpena Community College has not gone farther south than Tawas for its ETS program, but after Tawas cut back its program a bit, the funds were available for AGS to join for the year.
“It’s more for up-north schools,” Zeien said. “They’ve never gone this far south before.”
The program is generally open to seniors as well, but since AGS entered the program late in the school year, it was unable to include them. Zeien said for those students it assists with scholarship applications, filling out financial aid forms, college information and visitations, and helping cover the costs for students retaking the ACT.
To participate, students need to have at least a 2.0 GPA and must fill out an application form, available at the school’s main office. According to Kelli Murray, career advising assistant with Alpena CC, two-thirds of all openings for the program are reserved for students who are from low-income families and are aspiring first-generation college students, which means their parents do not have at least a four-year college degree.
The remaining students do not need to meet those criteria, and are entered into the program with the approval of the ETS director, though income verification is still required.
Zeien said Murray helped push for AGS’ addition to the program after getting the job at Alpena Community College. She had applied for a job as a counselor at AGS before getting that job instead, he said, and that connection helped bring the school into the program.
“It’s an opportunity that a small district like ours doesn’t always get,” Zeien said. “It will run through the rest of the year, and I hope we get the grant for next year as well.”
The ETS is a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Education with the goal of encouraging students to do well in school and pursue college opportunities. Participating schools in the area include Alcona, Alpena, Atlanta, Au Gres-Sims, Cheboygan, Fairview, Hale, Hillman, Johannesburg-Lewiston, Mio, Onaway, Oscoda, Posen, Rogers City, Tawas and Whittemore-Prescott.