St. Petersburg – Students from three different Pinellas County high schools are starting the summer off with an extra $500 in their pockets. These high school freshmen from Hollins, Lakewood and Boca Ciega earned that because of their improved performance in the classroom through the nonprofit, ‘Paid for Grades’. They were celebrated with a ceremony Wednesday night at Hollins High School where students picked up their checks and were cheered on by friends and family.
Paid for Grades is a program that rewards 9th-grade Pinellas County students for improving their reading skills and overall GPA. These kids worked with mentors over the course of several months. The goal of the program is to help students cultivate strong academic habits that set them on the path for success.
123 students made it to the end of the program making it the largest class of in the program’s 10-year history.
Students who complete the program received a $500.00 award, their mentors will also receive $400.00, and the school they attend will get $100.00 for each student who completes the program. This year’s total donation came out to $123,000.
Paid for Grades was the vision of Chargebacks911 Co-founder and COO, Monica Eaton-Cardone. The Tampa Bay-based fintech business owner began funding the nonprofit in 2013. With the support of the Pinellas Education Foundation, hundreds of local students have increased their GPA and seen improvement in reading comprehension. More than $1 million dollars have been donated through this program. Eaton-Cardone is especially proud of how Paid for Grades has benefitted students.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our 2022 graduates,” said Eaton-Cardone. “These incredible, hardworking students had to overcome social disruptions, economic hardships and a global pandemic, and they still managed to complete the PFG curriculum. I know these young men and women will continue to do great things both in and out of the classroom.”