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ACT Spearheads New College and Career Readiness Awards

ACT Inc. has launched a new awards program that will honor a student, high school, community college, and employer each year for achievement in advancing college and career readiness.

This year, seven states will participate in the competition, which is part of the Iowa City-based testing services' new College and Career Readiness Campaign. Each state will fashion its own state-level awards program, forwarding its winners to a national selection committee where one winner will be chosen in each of the four categories.

On Thursday, Alabama was the first state to announce the winner of its program, which focused on the accomplishments of high school seniors. Sheree Michelle Gremillion, a student at Rogers High School in Florence, Ala., was honored for her 3.9 GPA, high ACT score (33 of 36) and work ethic, at an Alabama Board of Education meeting in Montgomery.

Other states involved in the campaign—Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Wisconsin—will wrap up their awards-review progress by the end of the month, said Scott Frein, the director of federal and state advocacy at ACT. While the initial states represent a geographic, political, and demographic mix, the plan is to roll out the campaign and awards program to more states each year, he said.

"We wanted to start small to get this right," said Frein, noting that the campaign was a chance to highlight the progress being made at a time when states are dealing with critics of the implementation of Common Core State Standards. "We felt it was a good way to pause for a second and remind ourselves of those doing this hard work. We hope in the end to have some great role models to showcase."

The national winners will be named at an event in Washington, D.C., on May 21. Prizes have not been determined, but Frein said he was hopeful that honorees would receive a small gift in recognition of their efforts.

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