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The College Bound Scholarship: Students pledge to work hard and behave
When seventh-grader Keenan Curran is ready for college, he won't have to worry about the cost.
Keenan isn't the son of wealthy parents. Although he's good at sports and school, he isn't putting all his faith on an academic or sports scholarship.
Instead, Keenan is one of hundreds of students who signed up for a different type of scholarship: The College Bound Scholarship.
To meet the criteria for the scholarship, students must either be eligible for free or reduced lunches, receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, be a foster child or meet low-income standards.
The scholarship pays for four years at any college the student is accepted to, along with fees and books.
Students must sign a pledge in seventh or eighth grade, and until June 30, current ninth-graders can also sign up. The pledge requires that students keep their grades above a 2.5 GPA, follow the criteria and stay out of trouble.
Keenan doesn't foresee any trouble keeping that pledge.
"You have to keep your grades above a 2.5 anyways for sports," said Keenan, who currently plays football, basketball and track — and plans on adding wrestling next year.
Keenan also is required to keep up his grades for the Cambridge program, in which he is enrolled: "As you progress, you get smarter and it gets easier."
Keenan already saw his sister work her way through college, and his family thinks the scholarship program is a good idea.
"It's really helpful for kids who couldn't go (to college) because of funds," Keenan said. "Otherwise they might end up not going anywhere, and that's the end of your future."
Sacajawea Middle School, where Keenan attends, told parents about the scholarship during student-led conferences, and had many students sign up.
Right now, Keenan hopes to play professional sports. Because of this scholarship, Keenan doesn't have to worry about paying for college (at least for four years) for his back-up career plans: A doctor, a lawyer or a teacher.