ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It won’t be too long before current sophomores graduate high school and when they do, some of them could get a free ride to college in Rockford.
Auburn High School student Rey Guerra-York prepares for his finals so he can finish his sophomore year, but graduating high school wasn’t part of his plan and he did plan.
“I actually was planning on dropping out and getting my GED next year so I can just start saving up money now,” the student said.
Money, or lack thereof, is a big problem for some students who want to go to college, but can’t afford it. That’s why the Illinois legislature has passed a bill called Lincoln Promise Zone. It would allow the City of Rockford to create a board and solicit private funding for scholarships. Students wcould use the money to get an Associate Degree from Rock Valley College. Once we told Rey he might be able to go to college for free, his plan changed. He says he now wants to graduate high school.
“Now that I can go, I’m kind of happy about it. I’ve been thinking about it all lunch,” Guerra-York said.
“I actually saw a little glimmer in his eye and it seemed as though there was some hope there for him, and it actually gave me some goosebumps to think it’s not even here yet, and it’s here yet, and it’s already having an affect on at least one student,” said Ryan Reinecke, Principal at Auburn High School.
If and when the city creates a board, members would set the criteria that would allow students to qualify for the scholarships. The initial requirements say students have to live within district boundaries, graduate from Rockford Public Schools, maintain performance standards at Rock Valley College, and they can’t have any other governmental funding options left.