RUSK, Texas (KETK) – On Thursday morning, Rusk High School students were recognized for their eligibility for the Rusk, Tyler Junior College Citizens Promise Scholarship.

“Is a two-year scholarship for students of Rusk High School, an $8,000 award where students benefit $2,000 a semester, to attend TJC,” said Megan Burns, TJC Senior Manager of Scholarships.

The scholarship is a partnership between First Citizens Bank, the Perkins Family Foundation, TJC and Rusk ISD to brighten students’ futures, by offering financial aid for college.

“I can do it without having to worry about going being in debt, without worrying about loans, so it was just a really big opportunity to be able to use this scholarship for two whole years,” said Maddie Downs, a scholarship recipient.

Awarded scholars have dedicated themselves to thriving academically. “To make sure I have plenty of opportunities, and make sure I had plenty of different directions to go,” said Micah Givens, scholar recipient.

The Perkins Family Foundation plays a major role in the Promise Program, this is the 11th year offering this opportunity to Rusk High School students. “They decided to create something, in their own hometown, the same city where their kids went to school to provide education for students in their community,” said Burns.

They’re providing a chance for high school graduates to continue toward higher education. “I can get my basics done and have an associate degree in two years so, that’s probably the main thing that sticks out,” said Givens.

Now, 58 Rusk students have the opportunity to attend a growing campus, just an hour up the road. “The campus being so interactive and just, not being super far from home because, I am a homebody,” said Downs.

TJC and UT Tyler have a promise transfer scholarship, established by the Perkins family. “And benefit from a $8,000 scholarship. $2,000 a semester and so it allows students to continue their education,” said Burns.

Upon graduation, partners of the program hope that promise scholars make their way back home, to Rusk, to contribute to it’s growth.