Bartlesville couple pledges $1-million to start mentoring program - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Bartlesville couple pledges $1-million to start mentoring program

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A new door is opening in the lives of some Bartlesville school children. A Bartlesville family is donating $1-million to a lower-income elementary school to make sure kids in need have a chance to go to college.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains how organizers hope early mentoring will make a difference.

College may not be the first thing on the minds of 5th graders at the Jane Phillips Elementary School, but organizers of a new mentoring project want it to be an important part of their future. Principal Toby Sissons: “a lot of our parents, because they may not have gone to college, they may not see that there's a way that their kids can go." But now, every year, a select group at the elementary school will embark on a journey, with practical guidance and financial help, that ends with a college degree.

Barry and Karen Lowe are making it happen. Barry Lowe: "this program is targeted at the working poor." A retired ConocoPhillips executive, Barry Lowe has always wanted to help Jane Phillips kids, many of whom perform well below their grade level.

Now he's found a way and he's doing it in the name of his parents. Barry Lowe: "They never had a college education, but they wanted to be sure their children did and I think that allowed us to do things that we would've never been able to see without that kind of education."

Of the 300 students who attend Jane Phillips Elementary School, 90-percent are on the free and reduced lunch program. It's these kids this project is designed for, to show them opportunities in life they otherwise might not have had. Every year five students and their parents are assigned a mentor, who helps the entire family focus on education and map out a plan. The kids are required to meet certain goals and perform community service.

Because they're creating an endowment fund, to be matched by OSU, the Lowes know this project will be around long after they're gone. Karen Lowe: "What we're providing to these children is a hope for a future for them and a career where they can get a college degree and fulfill their hopes and dreams."

The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program is already accepting applications. The students who complete the program successfully and apply to Oklahoma State University will receive a scholarship in the academic field of their choice.
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