Community Foundation supports Kent State’s Rural Scholars Program

SALEM – Kent State University’s Rural Scholars Program received additional financial support from the Salem Community Foundation that will help continue the program for Salem City School students over the next three years.

Rural Scholars offers first-generation college-bound students from Columbiana County a program designed to give them and their families the knowledge, rigorous academic exposure and social support they will need to succeed at a world-class university. The goal is for every student in the program to complete post-secondary education with credentials necessary to succeed in his or her career.

This year, there are 34 seventh and eighth graders from Salem, Southern Local, East Liverpool, Crestview, Wellsville and Lisbon schools. Each school selects three students from each grade who are chosen based on their potential to succeed as first-generation college students. Wendy Pfrenger is the program coordinator.

“I’m so proud of our Salem Rural Scholars,” said Pfrenger. “They aren’t just scholars. They’re community volunteers, caring friends, strong athletes and talented artists. The support of the Salem Community Foundation will make it possible for us to keep giving these great kids opportunities to learn and grow and give back to the community.”

The program also includes nine local Kent State students who serve as mentors to the rural scholars. Each is also a first-generation college student from Columbiana County with a strong record of academic success and a desire to serve the community.

“As students succeed, they will have structured opportunities to reinvest their own energies and talents back into the community,” said Pfrenger. “Students who complete the high school portion of the program will be eligible to apply for a Rural Scholars Scholarship at Kent State’s Salem and East Liverpool campuses, serving as mentors for the students following in their footsteps.”

The program’s collaborative values combine university resources with community assets to produce innovative curriculum and dynamic experiences for students along the K-16 continuum.

– Submitted material