An Onondaga Central high school graduate turned professional football player was in town Tuersday evening to help raise money for a college readiness program that could benefit students at his alma mater. Latavius Murray graduated in 2008, and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2013.
He’s now a running back with the Minnesota Vikings. Amy Kremenek is Vice President of Enrollment Development at Onondaga Community College.
"Latavius is like a hometown hero, espeically in the Onondaga Central School district. He remains very involved and connected to the school and connected to the town. We really appreciate him coming back to the community in support of this great community effort."
The “friend-raiser” as it's called benefits OCC’s Advantage program. It started about two years ago with East Syracuse-Minoa and Solvay high schools, and recently expanded to include Onondaga Central. Kremenek says students have to show early dedication.
"By building a habit for attendance, and building habits that every day, every semester, you're going to get better grades. Being involved in your community...those are habits that we know can take a year, two years, three years to build. Once students get to the level of being ready for college, they have built-in those behaviors that will help them be successful."
If they are successful, students can earn a full tuition scholarship to OCC. Kremenek says a couple hundred students are already in the program, and they’d like to accommodate more.
"There's been a lot of interest. What it's going to depend on is our community's ability to raise the funds in order to have the student scholarships in place. This opportunity for the friend raiser will really help us to raise the money, and at the same time, raise awareness about the importance of the program, and the importance of having community support to make this program work."
She says volunteers from the OCC foundation are encouraging the community and businesses to get involved and support the scholarship program through fundraisers or donations.