Middletown schools program receives $15K grant to help students when leaving district

Middletown Promise is a program that hopes to make the “transition to life after high school” easier for Middletown High School students.

The program recently received a financial boost, a $15,000 grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation as part of the Westfield Legacy of Caring program. Middletown Promise was nominated by Moon & Adrion Insurance in Middletown to receive the grant to help give students the resources to more easily access college, said Chris Urso, chairman of the board.

The Middletown Promise Future Center, located inside the high school, is a student resource and career counseling center that helps students prepare for ongoing education and training after high school, Urso said.

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He said the Future Center staff is responsible for goal planning through one-on-one meetings with high school students and tracking the students’ progress toward reaching their educational goals. All MHS students are eligible for the program, though the staff concentrates on juniors and seniors.

The goals of the program include finding the right college and institutional fit, helping students to apply to schools and training institutions, and following the necessary steps to finding the funding to achieve their educational goals including FAFSA, ACT, and college application fee waivers, and finding ways to cover the cost of tuition at the institutions.

In its fifth year, Middletown Promise has seen a “significant jump” in the number of seniors who completed the Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), said Joe Campolongo, MHS Future Center student adviser.

Last year, of the 332 seniors, 52 percent completed the form. In 2016, 16 percent of the seniors completed the form, and the percentage has risen every year, he said.

Campolongo said the staff also is closely monitoring the future plans of the students. He said 52 percent of the seniors had applied to college, 25 percent were working or applying for a job, 16 percent were interested in a trade school and 2 percent were enlisting in the military.

Urso called the program an “extremely valued piece” to the educational process.

Talbott Moon, agency principal at Moon & Adrion, said the business wants every member of the community to “grow and experience a vibrant future.”

This year, the Westfield Insurance Foundation donated more than $500,000 to neighborhoods in 15 states. Moon & Adrion Insurance is one of 76 agencies that nominated a nonprofit.

Moon & Adrion was founded by Vernon Moon in 1921 and is one of the oldest agencies in Southwestern Ohio. Moon & Adrion offers insurance products for auto, home, business, life, boats, recreational vehicles, and annuities. Agency partners include Bryan Canter, Craig Moon, Kyle Kilburn and Talbott Moon.

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