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Program helps seniors explore their options

Oct. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

GREENUP, Ky. -- Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson brought a program designed to challenge high school seniors to pursue college degrees to Greenup County High School on Tuesday.

"If Kentucky is to compete for 21st century jobs, we must have a highly trained, skilled, educated workforce," Abramson said in a prepared release. "Close the Deal plays a critical role in achieving this goal. Expanding Close the Deal at Greenup County High School will definitely benefit the senior class, helping them know their options after earning their diplomas."

Close the Deal creates a college-going culture in selective high schools. The statewide program, in its second year, supports high school counselors and engages the business and postsecondary communities in helping students attain education after high school.

Greenup County High School students met with college representatives regarding how to apply for admission and financial aid while local business leaders outlined the skills needed for current and future job opportunities, according to a news release.

"Every Musketeer senior will benefit from participating in this unique opportunity," said Greenup County Superintendent Steve A. Hall. "Raising the awareness of the many resources available for our seniors as they plan the next step of attending college, joining the workforce and/or entering into our nation's military, Close the Deal brings all these resources to our high school for easy access for all students."

The program "gives our seniors a tremendous advantage in achieving college and/or career readiness and brings awareness to the vast resources available to them in reaching this goal," said Greenup County High School Principal Jason Smith.

The school partnered with the Ashland Alliance, the chamber of commerce group representing Boyd and Greenup counties, colleges, technical schools and universities in achieving and pursing the student's post-secondary goals and having the opportunity to be successful in not just a job but a career, Smith said.

"It is not only a pleasure for the Ashland Alliance and its members to be working with Greenup County High School on Lt. Gov. Abramson's Close the deal program, it's our responsibility," said Ashland Alliance President Bill Hannah.

"Any time we have the opportunity to get directly involved in assisting students' transition from high school to college, we should do so," Hannah said. "The mechanism set up by this Close the Deal program, placing senior students at nearly one-on-one meetings with college admission people, financial aid people and business people is very strong. It removes the stigmas associated with college being unattainable, too expensive and/or not for me. It is true that our children are our future. We need to invest in them, assist them, coach them, support them, whatever we can do as we come alongside those teachers and counselors who've given their lives to educating our youth."

High school officials will continue to work with students throughout the year. Through Close the Deal, counselors will encourage students to apply to at least one college or university, according to the release. Greenup County is one of three participating in the program this year.

"I appreciate the Lt. Governor's leadership in putting together the event and making our country a priority of this when it comes to education," said Greenup County Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter.

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