Local university teams up with organizations to help at-risk students attend college

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NORMAL, Ala. (WHNT)-- Alabama A&M University, The Pinnacle Schools and Save the Youth, Incorporated signed a Memorandum of Agreement Wednesday to form a program officials say will help at-risk students attend college and boost retention.
"Taking chances on people that others will not, that's a part of who we are. That's a part of our mission," said A&M President Andrew Hugine.
Students affiliated with these organizations get a lot of additional help and resources to graduate high school, but now this partnership will extend into their college years.  The program involves scholarship funding, plus additional support services including counseling, tutoring, and remediation with A&M staff. There are 12 slots, and officials say 6 are filled by current Pinnacle students.
"With this program, these students are going to be given all the wrap-around services they need to be successful," said The Pinnacle Schools CEO Karen Lee.
The students' needs to continue in the program after their first year, will be re-evaluated on a year-by-year basis. Leaders say the support it will provide for these students will help them stay on course.
One of the students entering the program this year, Marico DaShawn Watkins, said it's going to change his life "completely."
"Now I will be able to go to college and get a degree," he said. "I'll be the first person in my family to actually go to college and get a degree... Now I actually have a future."

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