Former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris made a surprise visit to the Pittsburgh Brashear High School commencement yesterday morning to promote the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program.
Mr. Harris, chairman of the board overseeing the Promise, congratulated the 282 Brashear graduates, many of whom will be among nearly 1,000 graduates district-wide receiving the inaugural Promise scholarships this year.
"We're here to support you at your next starting point," said Mr. Harris, who received an enthuastic welcome from the crowd at Mellon Arena, Uptown.
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the Promise in December 2006, and the first round of scholarships became possible because of a $10 million grant from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
To qualify, 2008 graduates must have a high school grade-point average of at least 2.0 and enroll at one of about 100 selected colleges and trade schools in Pennsylvania. Recipients may receive up to $5,000 annually for four years.
Mr. Harris urged parents to help their children prepare for college academically so they can avail themselves of the Promise.