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Sep. 23, 2018
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Gov. Deal, REACH to be honored at Lanier Islands’ concert

By Pamela A. Keene
 
An event not to be missed, the September 13, REACH for the Stars benefit concert features three musical acts in a special tribute to Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal. It takes place at Lanier Islands’ Peachtree Pointe amphitheater and newly renovated pavilion. 
 
The Thursday night concert will be headlined by Nashville songwriter and Albany native Dallas Davidson. He’s been prolific with more than 100 of his songs recorded by such famed musicians as Brad Paisley and Keith Urban with “Start a Band,” Blake Shelton with “All About Tonight,” Lady Antebellum with “Just a Kiss,” and Josh Turner with “All Over Me.”
 
“This is a chance to honor the legacy that Gov. and Mrs. Deal have created for Georgia,” said Jennifer Herring, senior vice president of College Affordability Initiatives at the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). In addition to the REACH Program, GSFC administers more than 20 state financial aid programs, including the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships. “They have both been so involved in educational initiatives, plus they have truly given of themselves to the state over the past eight years.”
 
Named the 2012 American Country Music Songwriter of the Year, Davidson had a record-breaking nine No. 1 hits over two years, and so far, a total of 13 No. 1 hits. Davidson is bringing his All-star Nashville Band to the Lake Lanier REACH concert. Opening acts are Smith & Wesley and the ever-popular Banks & Shane.” 
 
Tickets are on sale at lanierislands.com/REACH at $50 for lower stage seats in Peachtree Pavilion and $35 for the lawn. One hundred percent of ticket sales will be donated to REACH Scholars.
“Hall County and Gainesville City Schools are both part of the REACH program,” Herring said. “The money raised will support REACH Scholars across the 134 participating school systems.”
 
REACH: Creating a Path to Success
The REACH Georgia Scholarship program began in 2012 as a two-year pilot program with five school systems: Rabun, Douglas, Dodge, Quitman and Bulloch counties and a group of 35 students. AT&T was the program’s first corporate sponsor with a $250,000 donation to fund scholarships. 
 
“With the projected incoming class in October the program will have or is reaching nearly 1,700 students, many who will be the first to attend college in their families,” Herring said. “All REACH Scholars are part of the  free or reduced lunch program and the goal is to catch these talented students early so that they can have the hope of attending college.”
 
REACH Scholars, who start with an academic coach and mentor in 8th grade, have access to $10,000 to attend any 2-year or 4-year institution in the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia or eligible independent private schools in Georgia. Throughout their last five years in school, they are paired with mentors and are required to maintain a GPA of 2.5 through graduation. 
 
“We have also seen great success with the first two classes of REACH Scholars, as the average GPA of those graduating is 3.3,” said Gov. Deal. “Further, many colleges and universities recognize the value of the program and match or double-match REACH scholarship funding to provide scholars with additional resources to achieve success.” 
 
With the addition of 31 new systems during the 2018-2019 academic year, the program will serve nearly 1,700 students in 134 school systems across the state. The goal of the program is to be in all 180 school systems by the 2020-2021 academic year, serving almost 3,000 students. 
 
“The REACH Program is an investment in some of our state’s brightest students. REACH Scholars come from low-income families and sign a contract in which they promise to maintain good grades, uphold good behavior, meet with mentors and devote themselves to completing high school,” said Gov. Deal. “Through this program, we are providing REACH Scholars with the encouragement and support to finish high school strong and move on to lives of success, no matter what their background may be.”
 
Lanier Islands is hosting the concert, right in Gov. and Mrs. Deal’s backyard as Hall County natives. 
“As residents of Hall County, Sandra and I have many memories in the Lake Lanier area. We’re looking forward to the REACH for the Stars concert, which will be a great evening of fun and good music,” Gov. Deal said. “We hope you will join us on September 13 to celebrate the success of REACH and the young minds empowered by this program. As we celebrate these students, all proceeds will support REACH Scholars of the future.”  
 
For more information about REACH, visit reachga.org. To purchase tickets or learn more about the concert, visit lanierislands.com/REACH.

Peachtree Pointe transformed; debuts at REACH concert
For special events, meetings and weddings, Peachtree Pointe at Lanier Islands just got better. The pavilion has been enclosed, carpeted and air-conditioned. 
 
“We are excited that our first official event at the new pavilion at Peachtree Pointe will be the REACH for the Stars concert on September 13 to honor Gov. and Mrs. Deal,” said Missy Burgess, director of public relations and partnerships at Lanier Islands. “It has been updated to be state-of-the-art, with two new wedding venues – The Waterfall and The Sunset – plus we now have a private kitchen and food and beverage on site.”
 
The renovated pavilion, located at the back of the amphitheater, can seat up to 500 people banquet style. It can also be divided into two separate venues. Both have bride rooms and other amenities. It will also be used for meetings and other special events.
 
“The renovated pavilion will be a real game-changer for us,” Burgess said. “And we are pleased to be able to pay tribute here to Gov and Mrs. Deal for all they’ve done for the state of Georgia. It’s going to be a great evening.”
Posted online 8/31/18
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