Tenn Under 10

The  Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) announced Tenn Under 10, powered by PNC, an initiative to celebrate and incentivize Tennessee’s youngest learners who have overcome challenges to their literacy development. Dyer County third grader, Alli Roberts, was selected as one of 10 Tennessee children to serve as “Little Literacy Leaders” in their communities. GELF and Dyer County Schools celebrated this recognition with Alli at Holice Powell Elementary on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Director of Dyer County Schools Cheryl Mathis opened the reception by recognizing Alli with, "What an honor for her to receive this scholarship that was awarded to only 10 of 143 students in our state who were nominated for it!! Alli has worked hard in her school career to earn this scholarship. She put her mind to becoming a better reader, setting goals for herself that go beyond what was set for her, and putting in the extra work that it took to meet those goals! All now loves to read, and she enjoys helping others with their reading any chance that she gets! She encourages her classmates who may struggle with reading."

Through “Tenn Under 10,” GELF is awarding 10 Tennessee children under age 10 with a $1,500 post-secondary education scholarship through a TNStars 529 account. Last month Gov. Bill Lee introduced the inaugural Tenn Under 10 class at GELF’s annual Literacy Alliance dinner. 

Tennessee public school districts and elementary schools nominated a student for Tenn Under 10 by submitting an online application on their behalf. The Tenn Under 10 “Little Literacy Leaders” are third grade students from communities across the state who have faced and overcome an obstacle impeding their literacy development, such as lack of access to learning resources, low-income, transitional family environments, language barriers and visual impairments. 

Educators from 37 counties, 42 school districts and 90 schools from across the state submitted 143 applications. The final 10 honorees were selected based on criteria evaluating how they exhibit the four values of Tenn Under 10: tenaciously driven, eager to read, noticeably growing and nonstop learner. In addition to the post-secondary education scholarship, each honoree will receive books and resources to support their reading journey as well as recognition as one of GELF’s “Little Literacy Leaders” in their local community. To celebrate locally, representatives from GELF and PNC Bank plan to visit each child’s school this month.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission reports only 52% of Tennessee's high school graduates are pursuing post­secondary education upon graduation, a 17% decline since 2017. However, nearly 70% of high school graduates report that they want to attend college or a technical college. 

"It is a privilege to be here to congratulate Alli on her recognition as a Tenn under 10 recipient," said Elementary School Supervisor Dr. Carolyn Tyler. "She will be a wonderful representative as a 'Little Literacy Leader' in her school and community. I also want to shine a light on her teacher, Ms. Monica. Being an educator means so much more than being a teacher. Mrs. Monica is an excellent classroom teacher. She delivers content in a manner in which the students are sitting on the edge of their seats. Her interactions allow for students to engage in their learning."

Research shows students with college savings are approximately six times more likely to pursue post-secondary education, three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without any college savings.

Tenn Under 10 celebrates resilient students from diverse communities, ethnicities and backgrounds across Tennessee. Click this link: https://governorsfoundation.org/tenn-under-10-2023/ to meet the 2023 Tenn Under 10 literacy leaders.

"I am so proud of myself. I kept trying and now I can read,” said Alli Roberts, a 2023 Tenn Under 10 Little Literacy Leader from Dyersburg, Tenn.

Monica Robbins, Alli’s teacher, talked about the positive effect the scholarship has had on Alli, one of her students. “After being introduced and celebrated at GELF’s special event, Alli came back to school eager to share her adventures with her 19 other classmates, but more importantly she came back with a message for them: ‘You can do it too! Never give up, just keep trying like I did!’ Because of this wonderful program and the scholarship provided, Alli will have the opportunity to attend college and continue to be the tenaciously driven, noticeably growing, and nonstop learner she is today.”

Tenn Under 10 is presented by PNC Bank. This will be an annual initiative with nomination applications opening each fall. To learn more or donate to this cause, visit GovernorsFoundation.org.

About PNC Bank PNC Bank is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.(NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com

About GELF Governor's Early Literacy Foundation (GELF) equips Tennessee's children with books and innovative literacy tools that encourage lifelong learning for a brighter future. GELF is a nonpartisan 501c3 driven by a mission to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee by acting as a thought leader, advisor, and catalyst for programs across the state. These programs include Birth-5 Book Delivery through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, K-3 Home Library, Caregiver Engagement, Book Buses, and Storybook Trails. For more information, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org.

We are so proud of you Alli!