Gov. Ralph Northam congratulated future SEED Fund students in Martinsville-Henry County with a video.
Northam said to this year’s kindergarten class, “We believe in you. We want to be with you every step of the way and help you make your dreams come true. 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.”
The Harvest Foundation in September announced a $10.3 million investment over 13 years to guarantee the SEED Fund at Patrick & Henry Community College will provide a college education at no cost for high school graduates in MHC.
“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.”
Sandy Strayer, superintendent of Henry County Public Schools, said 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 is a kindergarten teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School who said she’s thankful to the Harvest Foundation and P&HCC for investing in the future of local children.
“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 underscores Northam’s prevailing message of hope as a beacon for future SEED Fund students and the entire 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.”
Dr. Greg Hodges, president of Patrick & Henry Community College, said the SEED Fund is 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?’” That is the kind of investment that redefines and accelerates the economic renaissance already underway in our region.”
To qualify for the SEED Fund, a high school graduate must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5. They must be a resident of Martinsville-Henry County and have in-state residency status at the time of the award. SEED students must file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year, and complete eight hours of community service before July 31 for each year of participation.
Students are eligible immediately following graduation from high school, completing a GED program (high-school age population only), or a homeschool program. Once an application to the fall semester at P&HCC is completed, an application to the SEED Fund must be completed on time.