May has been an eventful month for us at United Way of Central Georgia, filled with celebration, inspiration, and a deep sense of purpose. In this edition, we are thrilled to highlight the prestigious 46th Annual Golden Eagle Awards and emphasize the vital role of Read United in improving third-grade reading, which ultimately leads to successful graduation rates.
Let's dive in!
Golden Eagle Awards: Honoring Central Georgia's Best and Brightest High School Seniors
We had the honor of hosting the 46th Annual Golden Eagle Awards Ceremony at the historic Grand Opera House on May 11, 2023. It was an evening dedicated to celebrating the remarkable achievements of high school seniors throughout Central Georgia. These exceptional individuals, who joined a distinguished group of over 9,000 nominees in the history of the Golden Eagle Awards, were honored for their outstanding accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom. Their remarkable achievements serve as a testament to their hard work, dedication, and exceptional talents.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the sponsors who made the Golden Eagle Awards possible: Metro Power as the presenting sponsor, Mercer University as the host sponsor, The Telegraph as the supporting sponsor, and Beverly Knight Olson as the cord sponsor. Special thanks to our category sponsors, Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia, Cadence Bank, The Grand Opera House, American Legion Post 76, Macon Coca-Cola, Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages, Jeff Smith Automotive, Robins Federal Credit Union, and 13WMAZ. Your invaluable support has made this celebration of Central Georgia's exceptional high school seniors a resounding success.
Read United: Empowering Third-Grade Reading for Lifelong Success
At United Way of Central Georgia, we firmly believe that literacy is the foundation for a prosperous and fulfilling life. Through our Read United program, we are making great strides in ensuring that every child in our community has access to one-on-one reading support and the opportunity to excel academically. One critical area we focus on is third-grade reading proficiency, as it is a key indicator of future academic success and high school graduation rates. Our Read United program has expanded to cover six counties in Central Georgia, benefitting a total of 663 students from kindergarten to third grade. The outcomes thus far have been truly remarkable. In the previous year, an impressive 76% of second and third graders participating in Read United witnessed a remarkable surge in their reading scores, with an increase of 50% or more.
Studies consistently show that children who struggle with reading in third grade are more likely to face difficulties in subsequent grades, leading to a higher risk of dropping out of school. By investing in early intervention and providing the necessary support to improve third-grade reading skills, we are sowing the seeds of success that will benefit our community for generations to come.
The Ripple Effect: Third-Grade Reading and Graduation Rates
The impact of Read United's work extends beyond the immediate benefits of improved literacy. It is a catalyst for higher graduation rates and a brighter future for our youth. When children can read at grade level by the end of third grade, they are more likely to experience academic achievement throughout their school years. This, in turn, boosts their confidence, motivation, and overall engagement in their education.
By focusing on third-grade reading proficiency, we are nurturing a generation of students who are better equipped to graduate from high school and pursue higher education or meaningful careers. The ripple effect is profound—higher graduation rates lead to increased opportunities for personal and professional growth, reduced poverty rates, and a stronger, more vibrant community.
As we witnessed the inspiring Golden Eagle Awards ceremony, we couldn't help but imagine a future where the students in our Read United program grace the stage, receiving their well-deserved Golden Eagle Awards. Through our collective efforts, we are building a path to greatness for each and every child in Central Georgia.
Your Support: A Vital Piece of the Puzzle
None of this would be possible without your unwavering support. Whether you volunteer your time, donate funds, or advocate for our cause, you play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of countless children in Central Georgia. We are deeply grateful for your commitment to our mission and the lasting impact you are helping us create.
As we continue our journey, let us remember the power of literacy and the vital link between third-grade reading and successful graduation rates. Together, we can build a community where every child has an equal opportunity to thrive. Let's work hand in hand to inspire, empower, and create a future where our Read United students become the next generation of Golden Eagle Award recipients.
Thank you for your dedication, compassion, and belief in the power of education.