Wilson County was the 5th county in the State of Tennessee to implement the Tennessee Scholars Program. This program began to encourage high school students to take a more rigorous course of study that would benefit them in their years of college and in the workforce.
This program began as a joint effort with the school system, the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, local business and industry. As Tennessee Scholars, students are recognized by teachers, parents and community leaders as students who accept challenges and set high goals for success. By meeting the requirements of this program they are better prepared to enter the workforce, to attend a post-secondary institution or enter the military better prepared for success.
Business offer incentives to scholars who stay on track during all four years of high school, have an excellent attendance record, and graduate on time as Tennessee Scholars. Employers prefer to hire individuals with strong academic backgrounds, sound decision making and critical thinking skills to fill good, well-paying jobs.
The Tennessee Scholars has identified a set of six Key practices that impact workforce development and student achievement: Rigor, Career/Technical, Technology, Business Led, Community Service and Guidance. The course of study required includes four English courses, four Math courses, three Science Lab courses, three Social Studies, one Personal Finance class, one Fine Arts, two Foreign Languages, two Career Technical courses, two Additional AP courses, two dual credit enrollment, and 80 hours of Volunteer service. Students must maintain a “C” average in all Tennessee Scholars required classes and a 95 percent attendance record.
The Wilson County Tennessee Scholars program began in 2005 and is the only program in the county that brings representatives from all high schools both public and private for a graduation event.
A graduation ceremony is held the first of May at Cumberland University, where each student is presented a medallion and a certificate of completion. Genesco stepped up to be the presenting sponsor for the first event and continue every year to sponsor the graduation ceremony and awards.
Taste of Wilson County has become a major sponsor in this education program and without these dollars it would be difficult for the Chamber to continue the recognition of all Scholar students.
As of May 2013, 3246 (three thousand two hundred and forty six) students have graduated as Tennessee Scholars in Wilson County. With a slogan of “Education makes us what we are”, the Tennessee Scholars program provides an opportunity for students to become the best they can be in higher education and the workforce.
An added incentive for Tennessee Scholars is the scholarships awarded that evening. Two scholarships are awarded from the Tennessee Scholars fund, three scholarships from the Chamber Education fund and a Scholarship to a Watertown student from the Ashworth Foundation.
Each year in the spring the Chamber selects a recipient to receive the Dr. Robert Carver Bone scholarship and the Mike Baker scholarship which is funded by the Chamber, Wilson Bank and Trust and Wilson County promotions.
The Wilson County Sports Council awards two Academic/Athletic scholarships each year to a graduating senior that excels in sports and academics, and the Leftwich scholarship is awarded to the Cumberland University nursing school each year.
Through the Chamber Business and Education Coalition eleven (11) scholarships are awarded annually to Wilson County high school seniors.