KNOXVILLE, Tenn — On Friday, Pellissippi State Community College hosted educators and community leaders to celebrate a 10-year partnership between the college and TN Achieves.

For the past decade, TN Achieves has enrolled nearly 75,000 students across the state. More than 10,000 of those students are going to Pellissippi State, the college said. 

Each student is partnered with a TN Achieves volunteer mentor as part of the Tennessee Promise Scholarship.

"I knew I wanted to attend a four-year university right after high school but unfortunately that wasn't the best option for me financially," said Timari Ray a first-year student in Marketing and Communications at Pellissippi State. 

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Ray said her high school advisers at Hardin Valley Academy informed her of the Tennessee Promise. 

"The Tennessee Promise Scholarship and having a TN Achieves member there to guide me has been one of my greatest blessings so far regarding my academic career," she said. 

In addition to the Tennessee Promise, students must complete 8 hours of community service per semester. 

"Personally, I like getting involved in the community even just for a simple 8 hours just to see what Knoxville and the community has to offer," Ray said.

Ray is the only one of seven in her family to attend college. 

"Tennessee promise gives people hope that you can still go to college even if you're not financially stable enough to pay for tuition at any school," she said. "And TN Achieves is the guide that comes along with the scholarship to support college students as they work through school and always keep them on the right track."

The TN Achieves mentor applications are available for the 2020-21 academic year. Volunteers are able to sign up at tnAchieves.org.