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Martin County nonprofits team up to award middle school students full-ride scholarships to college

The Copper Key Scholarship Promise selects students not based on grades, but character and potential
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Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 00:06:07-04

STUART, Fla. — Four Treasure Coast nonprofits are teaming up to change the lives of students and families in Martin County.

The Copper Key Scholarship Promise is a program that hand-selects middle school students to receive a full-ride scholarship to a Florida university.

"It feels really cool to know that you're going to go to college and stuff," said D'Asia Watson, a 7th grader.

The foundation selects students that are referred to them.

They're chosen not based on academic achievement, but on character and potential.

"It kind of came out of the sky," said Jana Solomon, D'Asia's mother. "I was approached one day at the Boy's and Girl's club."

"What we want is to reach young people right at a critical point where their decision-making is really going to make a difference for their whole lives," said Nina Haven Scholarships Executive Director Tracey Etelson.

Solomon said she always knew her daughter was going to go to college but was unaware of how it was going to be paid for.

"I fit into that weird category where I make too much for benefits but not enough for real life," said Solomon.

Watson said after high school, she plans to study business and wants to become an investor.

"I feel like I have a responsibility because I feel like I've been chosen to be in this program for a reason," said Watson.

So far, there have been five students selected for the Copper Key Promise.

Etelson said she hopes to grow the program to two additional students each year.

"It makes me feel really good to know that someone saw in her what I see in her," said Solomon.

The foundation not only provides blanket services to students throughout grade school but also to their families.

Finance and budget management, health and nutrition education, and youth leadership are just a few of the services offered.