Princeton Middle School Receives Grant to Tour College

PRINCETON, W.Va. (WOAY) – The Education Alliance awarded grants to 25 middle schools to send students on college tours.

Princeton Middle School seventh grade class will visit Concord University on Wednesday. The grants are part of a statewide effort to get kids thinking about college sooner.

Education leaders are aiming to double the number of West Virginia residents with certificates or degrees by the year 2030.

“Someone who has a bachelors degree will earn a million dollars more over their lifetime than someone who just graduated from high school,” said Courtney Gracon, a college and career readiness facilitator. “With an associates degree, they can earn half a million more than if they just graduate from high school. We want them to have a good quality of life, good health care going all the way down the road.”

According to Lumina, only 34.7 percent of West Virginians between 25 and 64 held at least a certificate as of fall 2017.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at