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Impact Update: 4th Quarter 2023

Updated: Jan 29

The Georgia Department of Education employs a comprehensive assessment tool to gauge students readiness for college and career and overall preparedness for the future, known as the College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).

One pivotal category, “Closing Gaps” meticulously evaluates the academic progress of students facing challenges such as poverty, disabilities, and English language learning. This evaluation is visually represented through red and green improvement flags shown below.

In the most recent report, dated 12/14/2023, Greene County High School (GCHS) student demographic reveals 100% Economically Disadvantaged, 8.9% English Learners, and 15.6% Students with Disabilities. The current data illustrates a remarkable achievement for GCHS – no red flags and nearly all green flags, culminating in an impressive overall score of 100, outshining the state of Georgia’s score of 67.5.

In 2018, when the career coaching program was initiated, GCHS scored 66.7 with 7 red flags. Clearly, collaborative efforts have steered the institution toward notable advancement, symbolized by the absence of red flags and a stellar overall score. Together, we are fostering a trajectory of continuous improvement and success.

2018: Overall score = 66.7

chart with passing and failing grades

2023: Overall score = 100

chart showing improved grades

Your Generosity is Amazing!

For Giving Tuesday 2023, our aim was to replace the $140,000 awarded to the last Greene County High School graduating class. Thanks to the remarkable support from local individuals and business partners we were able to more than double our goal to reach $300,000!

One particularly interesting story involves one of our dedicated career coaches. This coach had a 529 Fund (college fund) set up for her granddaughter, who ultimately decided not to use it. So, our career coach closed the account and donated the proceeds, totaling over $25,000, to benefit all of our students.

This fundraising result provides extended financial assistance to future graduating classes beyond the levels achieved in previous years. With continued growth through generous donations and grants, we look forward to realizing our dream of ensuring that every graduate of the GCCA career coaching program has their expenses covered for up to two years of continued education or career experience. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every donor who made this incredible achievement possible.

Record Number of Student Appointments

December 8th was the last day for career coaches to meet with their students until after the Christmas break. The career center was packed all day as 69 career coach/student meetings took place. The overall volume of meetings between students and their coaches continues to increase each school year. We are now averaging more than 400 meetings per month or more than 4,000 for the ten month school year. As noted in the GCHS test scores outlined at the beginning of this update, the coaching program is having an overwhelmingly positive impact on our students.

a student sits with a teacher

Welcome BankSouth, New Business Partner

We are pleased to welcome BankSouth as our newest addition to our esteemed group of business partners. BankSouth joins other leading organizations such as Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, Gypsum Management & Supply, Corcentric, and Ernst & Young in supporting our mission to end generational poverty in Greene County. The Board of Directors and BankSouth President and CEO Harold Reynolds, have not only embraced partnership but has also demonstrated a strong commitment by contributing a generous five-figure donation.

Reynolds, who also serves as Chairman of the Georgia Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia, expressed his deep appreciation for the transformative work carried out by our 180 volunteer career coaches. He remarked, “As a lifelong resident of Greene County, it’s thrilling to see the outcomes Greene County High School students are accomplishing through the commitment of so many volunteers engaged with the Thillen Foundation program.”

We are almost overwhelmed by the support of our entire team of business partners and look forward to the positive impact our collaboration will have on the students we serve. Together, we are making a lasting difference in the lives of our students and helping shape our community for a bright future.

a group photo of students and teachers

GCCA Recognition Receptions

The format for recognizing students has shifted from traditional assemblies to a more intimate series of Student Recognition Receptions. Instead of two assemblies for the entire student body, there are now four receptions, each catering to a specific grade level. Invitations are extended to the students being recognized, their career coaches, and proud parents. This shift to a more intimate setting enhances the significance of the recognition and provides an opportunity for photos to be included in local newspapers. The feedback from our first set of receptions in November was overwhelmingly positive. We will continue this new tradition as it allows our students to shine and be recognized in a more personalized and meaningful way.

three students hold Dave Dollars

Career Coach Holiday Party

Every year at Christmas time we gather together as coaches and friends to celebrate our progress and join together in our annual toast to making a difference in the lives of hundreds of young and disadvantaged students. This year, to express our gratitude and remind each career coach of the positive influence they impart, every attendee received a special ornament that simply read “Joy”. Each ornament serves as tangible symbols of the “Joy our coaches bring to so many students as they generously volunteer their time and effort to make a meaningful difference.

Dave Thillen toasts the career coaches

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A student holds two Dave Dollars

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Experience the rewards of preparing a hard-working teen for college, the workforce, or military service, and ensuring a guided, financially-assisted path to their future.

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Activate your business mission by partnering with us to advance student opportunity through earned financial assistance and respectful diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

A student and teacher with face shields

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