The organization also announced a major grant of $297,000 from the Charitable Venture Foundation, based in Clifton Park. Dalton said the grant would be used to strengthen the program's national reach.
Ticonderoga Central School Superintendent John McDonald spoke about the program's benefit to area students. Ti school has been involved with CFES for 10 years. He said that over the past several years, there's been an increase of students attending secondary education institutes.
McDonald explained that post-secondary education is becoming more and more vital in the modern economy - and that it didn't necessarily mean a traditional four-year school. Many students are attending trade schools. He said the increased connections to other area schools and universities - particularly Middlebury College - helped encourage students to think about college.
We're challenged by being a rural school - it's tough for us to provide experiences and opportunities for our kids because of our isolation, said McDonald.
CFES works with students in 110 schools from New York to Hawaii that partner with 180 colleges in the U.S. Seventeen of those schools are located in the Adirondack Park.
Through mentoring programs, both inner-city and rural-based students from elementary to high school, work with college students, visit college campuses, and are guided through the complicated college application process.
Since the nonprofit organization started in 1991, CFES has worked with 380 schools and paved the way for more than 100,000 under served students to gain access to colleges. The organization is headquartered in Cornwall, Vt.
Diaz said that his involvement in the organization had made him who he was. Meeting Dalton provided him with a mentor- one who taught him to shake hands firmly, and be a man. He said the program taught him how to network, and choose his friends with care.
Before FES, I didn't see a purpose in going through school, he said. After, he decided that he wanted to pursue a college degree. This fall he is entering Marist College as a freshman.
It's not a dream - it's a standard for every child we should set, said Diaz.