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Greene County High School 2023 Graduates awarded $137,000 by Thillen Education Foundation

On May 15, 2023, all 100 students from the Greene County High School Class of 2023 received $137,000 in earned financial assistance, awarded to them by Thillen Education Foundation. “Students earned ‘Dave Dollar’ financial commitments throughout their high school career for academic and professional milestones achieved,” says Dave Thillen, founder. “We are so honored to have presented these students with real funds to continue their education, advance their professional and technical skills, or launch their skilled trade careers.”

This year, there were 25 students who were awarded “Next Step Funds” including 23 scholarships and 2 Career Start Packages for a total of $82,000. Three of the scholarships were named: The “Blevins Memorial Scholarship” in memory of William & Jeanne Blevins, “Gypsum Management & Supply Scholarship” and “Morris, Manning & Martin Scholarship” in recognition of 2 exemplary Thillen Education Foundation business partners.

2023 Scholarship Recipients

A community effort, more than 130 career coaches dedicated countless hours to conducting individual and group meetings with students who earned financial assistance and “Next Step Funds” for continued education or military and career advancement. Thillen says, “Our coaches, school staff, and donors are all pleased to share how our graduates will continue to evolve.”

Next Step Scholarship Award Recipients Plan to Attend:

  • Albany State University

  • Alabama A& M University

  • Athens Technical College

  • Clark Atlanta University

  • Georgia College & State University

  • Georgia Southern University

  • Kennesaw State University

  • Morehouse College

  • Savannah State University

  • Stanford University

  • Tuskegee University

  • University of Georgia

  • University of North Georgia

  • Military Recipients Plan to Serve:

  • United States Air Force

  • Entrepreneurs Plan Career Starts In:

  • Construction

  • Automotive Design

  • Special Needs Enrichment to Take Place:

  • Extra Special People (ESP) Camp – Athens, GA

Laptop Recipients:

The Top Ten academic graduates received laptops and carrying cases donated by corporate partner Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP. The laptops will equip students with needed technology as they move on to their next step in life.

  • Braylon Johnson

  • Eric Surgick

  • Jada Wright

  • Akeria Merritt

  • Cameron Carmichael

  • Mariah Leslie

  • Ryan Evans

  • Jai’lyn Armour

  • Aiden Turner

  • Sherlyn Camacho-Bustamante

Looking Ahead to Future Graduating Classes – and More Earned Financial Awards

“When we began the community partnership between Thillen Education Foundation and Greene College & Career Academy at Greene County High School in 2018, we anticipated the day on which we would financially reward students for their dedication, hard work, and forward life planning,” Thillen says. “Now, we are proud to say that we have enriched the lives of 184 students, with hundreds more in line to experience the same post-graduation recognition and financial assistance in the years ahead.”

Each year, the program grows to include more community members meaningfully interacting with individual students. When school starts again in the fall, a total of 130 career coaches will work with the 450 students who attend GCHS. Counting the graduates in the classes of 2022 and 2023 and the career coaches who worked with them, we are up to a total of around 650 students and 180 career coaches.

After successfully raising $1 million in a 2021-2022 capital campaign, more than 450 individual and corporate donors empowered last year’s $120,000 and this year’s $137,000 financial assistance awards. “Our foundation’s plan is to continue the program in perpetuity with similar or greater financial assistance for each graduating class,” Thillen says. “If our community has taught us anything it’s that we have only just begun to help realize the ambitions and dreams for so many deserving young people at Greene County High School.”

Based in Greensboro, GA, the 501(c)(3) Thillen Education Foundation (TEF) is a distinguished community-based earned financial assistance program based on personal coaching and committed to honoring the achievements of 450+ students participating in Greene College & Career Academy at Greene County High School, a Title I school. Through business sponsorships and funding support, TEF strives to end generational poverty by financially enabling post-secondary education and skills training for hardworking students. Learn more at

This post was originally featured on The Herald Journal.

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24 jul 2023


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