Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen was in Aroostook County this morning to unveil a county-wide initiative aimed at encouraging young people in northern Maine to attend college.
The so-called "Aroostook Aspirations Initiative," which begins the fall of 2014, will award $1,000 scholarships to one graduating senior at each of the county's 16 high schools, with preference to disadvantaged students who are the first in their family to attend college.
Recipients must also be attending one of four colleges in northern Maine - Northern Maine Community College, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Presque Isle, and Husson University's Presque Isle site on the NMCC campus.
The intiative, which also includes internships and entrepreneurial training, is funded in part through a major gift of $300,000 dollars from Raynold and Sandra Gauvin of Mapleton.
The program is accepting public donations to build its endowment.
This story was reported and written by Keith Shortall.