GRASP Comes to Highland High School

Monterey, VA – GRASP has come to Highland County High School. GRASP stands for the non-profit organization GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program. Bettsy Heggie, Executive Director of GRASP, was in Highland County recently to hold a meeting for students and parents about the program. Ms. Heggie describes GRASP.

“GRASP was started in the mid 80’s by an educator and a concerned citizen who saw that there were issues with families of all income levels accessing college” says Heggie.

She goes on to relate how GRASP came to Highland County.

“Last spring we received a call from the Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge” she says. “Some of their donors wanted to bring a college access program to the central Blue Ridge area.”

She says they raised enough money to bring the GRASP program to nine new schools this fall, including Highland County. GRASP has just hired a representative to work with Highland High School students, named Renee Vandevander.

She went to school in Highland, then graduated from Mary Baldwin and Heggie says she’s now ready to give back to her community. All of Vandevanders’ training and salary will be paid by GRASP. Throughout the Central Blue Ridge Region, GRASP works with many students each year.

“Last year alone we touched 18,000 students and parents” she says. ” We also met with 3700 individual students.”

GRASP counselors also have information on how students can qualify for early decision, tuition assistance and other programs that will pay college costs. This includes a special program at the University of Virginia.

“We’ll also help them understand opportunities like UVA Access” says Heggie. “Many students can go to UVA for virtually no money because they follow the appropriate steps.”

Highland High School students can make an appointment with GRASP representative Renee Vandevander by stopping by or calling the High School Office.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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