Society of Mary USA, Marist Ministries Society of Mary, Marists in the USA, Roman Catholic Priests, Brothers, and Laity

Students Excel — When Given a Chance

Their graduates go to Emory, Brown and Yale Universities along with Georgia Tech. Their program is tuition free. Their master teachers come back year after year.

Daniel Chandra, Reach Program Attendee, Yale Class of 2012
Daniel Chandra
Reach Program Attendee
Yale Class of 2012

In a time when the quality of education is often questioned, the Marist's Reach for Excellence program has consistently helped children of limited income and resources succeed in challenging high school and college preparatory programs.

Begun by the Marist Fathers and Brothers on the occasion of their 100th anniversary in 2001, the late President of Marist School, Father Richmond Egan, and Principal Father Joel Konzen wished to develop a program for academically talented sixth graders from the underserved areas of metro Atlanta. In the intervening years, Reach for Excellence has served more than 300 children.

Through three six week summer sessions and two years of alternating Saturday classes during the school year, the program develops the academic, social, and leadership skills each student needs to succeed in high school, college and beyond. Math, science, language arts and social studies are supplemented with physical fitness, computer studies, fine arts, business, and leadership classes.

Graduate Kourtlynn Johnson said of the program, "Reach taught me that the only person who can hinder my progress and restrain my talents is me."

Reach for Excellence recruits and hires master teachers from public and independent high schools, and special consideration is given to hiring teachers whose background and experience enable them to serve as both faculty and role models for Reach students.

The cost of the program is $4,000 per year, per student, or $12,000 for the full three years that a child is enrolled and the program relies completely on support from donors. Marist School provides facilities as a gift in kind.

Among the 2008 graduates, 18 percent entered area independent schools, 45 percent entered public magnet programs, 18 percent entered charter schools, and 9% entered local high school honors programs.

Daniel Chandra, who attended Reach for Excellence and graduated in 2008 from Marist School, just completed his first year at Yale University. He said he would tell potential students, "to envision a place of education, acceptance, and most of all opportunity."