By Rachel McDanielLamar County school and state officials celebrated the most recent REACH GA Scholars – Michelle Barradas, Robert Hoffman, Travis Jones, Sydney Lanier and Kaitlyn Schwartz.Each of the middle school students and their parents signed a contract agreeing to specific attendance, academic and behavior requirements in order to receive a $10,000 per year scholarship to the school of their choice after high school graduation.A short video of Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal was shown, congratulating the students on their selection and encouraging them to work hard to reach their goals. ‘Don’t stop reaching just because you complete the requirements of your contracts,’ said Gov. Deal. ‘Keep on reaching and remember, Georgia is counting on you.’The five students will be part of the Lamar County Class of 2021.Georgia Rep. Johnnie Caldwell talked to them about what it means to sign a contract as a REACH GA scholar.’Dedicating yourselves takes a lot of determination and discipline and I celebrate each of you for applying and being accepted into this program,’ said Caldwell. ‘By signing these contracts, you are dedicating yourselves along with your parents to reach certain academic and behavioral goals, giving you better opportunities in the future and teaching you about being a good citizen.’Of 180 school systems eligible for REACH GA, there are only 69 who have applied for the program. Superintendent Dr. Jute Willson noted that local funds of $7,500 are required each year to ensure the continuation of the program and thanked local sponsors for their contribution.’This is not a hand out and this is not a scholarship,’ said Dr. Wilson. ‘This is an investment in our students and we are excited to see the result on their lives.’Local members of the REACH GA Selection Committee include Dr. Kiana Battle, Dorothy Carter, Pat Edwards, Diane Harvey, Linda Olivier and April Smith. Local financial sponsors of REACH GA include the Rotary Club of Barnesville, Joe and Pat Edwards and the Barnesville-Lamar Community Foundation.’We want to thank everyone involved in the program for putting in the time and support that will make such a difference in these students’ lives,’ said Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal. Almost 200 students at Lamar County Middle School were eligible to apply for REACH GA, but only five were selected after an intense interview process.