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PRESS RELEASE

March 13, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

College Reach-Out Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary
~ Program has helped thousands of underrepresented students attend and graduate college ~

TALLAHASSEE – The College Reach-Out Program (CROP) today celebrated 25 years of accomplishment in helping thousands of Florida’s economically disadvantaged and underrepresented students attain personal and academic success. The half-day celebration took place at the Capitol where education officials, legislators, parents and students gathered to honor the program’s achievements throughout the years.

“The College Reach-Out Program continues to have a tremendous impact on the lives of many of our students by teaching them that a college education is possible for everyone,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Eric J. Smith. “I commend the efforts of those involved with the program for helping unlock the potential within these students and leading them to achieve beyond their dreams.”

According to the latest comparisons of CROP students and non-CROP students of similar backgrounds, CROP students:

  • achieve higher academic performance in high school
  • take more advanced and rigorous courses
  • are more likely to graduate high school
  • have higher percentages of college enrollment
  • are more successful in college

“CROP has opened many doors in my life; doors I never dreamed possible,” said CROP student and East Gadsden High School 2007 graduate Gary Russ. “When I joined CROP, I felt I had a chance to experience things that seemed impossible for a person from my environment. Living in a low-income neighborhood, attending low-achieving schools, and being the target of negative stereotypes were barriers that almost stopped me from succeeding. CROP helped me forget about those distractions, and focus on things which were once unimaginable – the future.”

Since its inception in 1983, the program has helped more than 100,000 students through increased access to positive role models, rigorous and challenging coursework, college bus tours, on-campus summer residential programs, up-to-date training materials and tutoring from board certified instructors. The program frequently enrolls middle school students to help prepare them early for future success in college.

"I would recommend this program for any student interested in achieving their goals," said Teresa Britt, mother of Boca Ciega High School 2003 graduate and CROP student Shannon Britt. "The program helped me as a parent because I didn't understand all the things it takes to go to college. If it wasn't for this program, Shannon would probably be in regular schooling and probably would not be offered any kind of scholarships."

To learn more about CROP, visit http://www.fldoe.org/eeop/crop.asp.