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Medaille giving scholarship funds to Riverside

Medaille College will commit nearly a half million dollars a year in scholarship money for Riverside High School students to attend the college on Agassiz Circle in North Buffalo.

Medaille -- which has a partnership with Riverside, one of Buffalo's six persistently lowest achieving schools -- will award up to $450,000 in scholarships each year starting with Riverside's graduating Class of 2014, students who are sophomores right now.

Medaille President Richard T. Jurasek made the announcement Thursday at the high school on Ontario Street.

Medaille in 2010 created the Medaille Center for Entrepreneurship and Change at Riverside, in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools and the Northwest Buffalo Community Center.

The center provides Riverside students with financial literacy workshops, an Entrepreneurship Club, academic mentoring, assistance filling out college financial aid forms and help searching for a summer job, among other initiatives, college officials said.

It only made sense that if Medaille was already inside the high school that the college should provide this scholarship incentive to help motivate students to graduate, Jurasek said.

"The scholarships should create what we hope is a pipeline," Jurasek said. "It just makes sense."

The scholarship money would help students cover tuition costs, after receiving other grants or aid, so that they could receive a full ride to Medaille, officials said. It's unclear how many would be offered the scholarships each year.

Jurasek made the announcement along with interim Buffalo School Superintendent Amber Dixon; Riverside Principal Denise Clarke; and Lawrence T. Pernick Jr., executive director of the Northwest Buffalo Community Center.

They also publicly unveiled the Medaille Center for Entrepreneurship and Change at Riverside.

"Entrepreneurship can and should be taught in a persistently low-achieving school, and not just reserved for students in elite schools," Jurasek said.