The newest group of Evanston Scholars with Executive Director Steve Newman and Program Director Nancy Baker. Photo by Evanston Photographic Studios

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Evanston Scholars is a college access program that helps first-generation, high-potential, underserved youth realize their dream of graduating from college. National Mentoring Month with the initiation of its new class of 27 high school juniors and their mentors at the Ecology Center on Jan. 22.

“We are honored by the presence of so many mentors who are willing to help a deserving student navigate the difficult path to college,” said Laura Maloney, mentor coordinator. “These are adults who will generously work one-to-one with a student to make sure that scholar finds a best-fit four-year college or university. And they will stick with that student throughout college to help make graduation a reality.”

“Our Initiation Dinner is the perfect way for us to honor the intention of National Mentoring Month,” said Steve Newman, founder and executive director. “This will be our fourth class of Scholars and we understand that the incredible success our program has experienced is due in large part to the consistent support of our fantastic mentors.”

One-hundred percent of Evanston Scholars who started college are still enrolled. Other outstanding results include: average ACT score improvements of 3.4 points, 100 percent acceptance to four-year schools, and full-tuition scholarships secured by 80 percent of the Scholars.

This year’s Evanston Scholars Initiation Dinner will feature special guest speaker and community partner Hecky Powell.

“I’m honored to help launch 27 of Evanston’s most promising students as they begin a tough, but critical journey toward college. I wish more young people had such clear direction and this type of serious support network to turn their dreams into a realistic, workable plan. Evanston Scholars is the real deal,” said Mr. Powell.

Evanston Scholars is a non-profit organization that improves college access and success for a diverse group of underserved Evanston High School students who demonstrate a high level of character and ambition.

The six-year program starts with high school juniors and continues through their college graduation. Through a combination of “College Knowledge” programming, on-campus experiences, and individualized mentoring, Evanston Scholars bolsters a student’s support system, thereby improving the chances of obtaining a college degree.