Agreement Provides Students Free College Education as TCC and UTA Join Together in Renewal of Nash Academic Challenge

UT Arlington Vice Provost for Academic Analytics and Operations Dale Wasson, TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby sign the Nash Academic Challenge Renewal Agreement
UT Arlington Vice Provost for Academic Analytics and Operations Dale Wasson, TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby sign the Nash Academic Challenge Renewal Agreement

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 20, 2014) — As part of its commitment to creating a college-going culture for
Tarrant County-area students, Tarrant County College and The University of Texas at Arlington have renewed their unique challenge to Nash Elementary School students. As part of this challenge, students have a chance to earn a college degree free of charge.
Both parents and students praised the educational opportunities provided by the Challenge. “Knowing that Nathalie’s first four years of college will be provided to her has enabled her to concentrate on her education,” said Jose Palacios, whose oldest daughter, Nathalie, is now in high school. “We are so proud of her and thankful to the scholarship program for giving us peace of mind,” adding that the scholarship program has alleviated some of the worry of financial obstacles to higher education. Another parent, Izza Andrade, said, “You are making a college education possible for my son. Thank you for believing in our children.”
The Nash Academic Renewal Ceremony included TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby, Dale Wasson, vice provost for Academic Analytics and Operations for UT Arlington, Nash Elementary Principal Nakita Brewer and PTA Past President Miriam Rodriguez. “Everything we do at Tarrant County College is about student success,” Chancellor Hadley told students during the ceremony. “We’re also trying to create avenues through which you can be successful in a shorter period of time.”
Third, fourth and fifth grade students participated in a life map activity to think about where they are from, where they are now and where they are going. “The purpose is to have them begin visualizing their future aspirations and question whether or not they are on the right path to reach them,” said Serafin Garcia, coordinator of community outreach for the Trinity River Campus. “We let them know that over time, their maps will likely need to be adjusted and gaps filled in.” Reach for the Stars photos also were taken with TCC and UT Arlington mascots, Toro and Blaze.
Vice Provost Wasson reminded students that their behavior needed to be consistent with their goals and encouraged them to examine if they are doing the things they need to do to become the things they want to be. Superintendent Dansby affirmed the Challenge, saying it was perfectly aligned to the FWISD’s strategic plan as well as its motto, mission, vision and values. “It addresses equity and access, perseverance and commitment, and also continuous improvement,” he said.
Parents are asked to sign a letter of agreement, stating that TCC has permission to track the progress of their children while they are enrolled in Charles E. Nash Elementary and while in the Fort Worth ISD. Students and parents are invited to attend yearly meetings at TCC’s Trinity River Campus, which is the District sponsor for the elementary school.
For each student who satisfies the conditions of the Challenge, including graduating from Charles E. Nash Elementary and a Fort Worth Independent School District high school, TCC will provide a full-tuition scholarship including books. For Pell-eligible students who go on to complete an associate degree at TCC, UT Arlington will guarantee sufficient funding to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by other grants and scholarships for a period of two years.
Gabriel Villarreal, a student at Charles E. Nash Elementary, said, “Getting this scholarship means that UTA and TCC really care for my generation and my parents. My parents won’t have to worry so much about helping me pay for college.”
Rodriguez knows the benefits of the Nash Challenge first hand. Although she and her husband made plans for their children to attend college, she didn’t know how they would get them there. “When I heard the gift that TCC and UTA were going to give our children, it was just such a gift that some of us cried.” Her children, Freddy and Samantha, were among the first and second group of children to take advantage of the opportunity when agreement in started five years ago in 2009. Freddy is already taking college courses at TCC’s Northwest Campus.
“I would like to thank you, TCC, and I would like to thank you UTA and Fort Worth ISD for giving my children and all of our children a future where everything is possible,” Rodriguez said during the ceremony. “Nothing can stop them.”
Nash Academic Challenge Renewal Photo Gallery