Blue Ridge Scholars program seeks service-oriented students

When last year’s cohort of Blue Ridge Scholars learned that a majority of local third graders were not reading at grade level, they wanted to help kids improve on this essential skill.

The cohort devised a lesson plan around specific books and executed it by reading to Fannin County second graders. Although some of the Scholars started outside their comfort zone, they soon began to flourish in their level of self confidence, preparation and leadership.

The project had such an impact on both the school children and the Scholars that Dr. Nathan Price, Blue Ridge Scholars program coordinator and assistant professor of political science and international affairs, implemented a new interview process to identify students who are enthusiastic about service projects and determine if the program is the right fit for the student.

“The mission is the same,” Price said. “It is a leadership program designed to build scholars through engagement.” The cohort approach helps ease students’ transition to college.