Published: May 27, 2011 4:40 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2011 4:32 PM EDT

36 Lee County students signed contracts today promising to maintain good grades, stay drug free and exhibit good behavior all in exchange for a free ride to college.

It's all part of the Take Stock in our Children Scholarship Program, an initiative of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

The scholarship program is built on the premise that give extensive support, motivation, and accountability, children will work hard to ensure that the graduate and attain a college degree.

The three dozen 6th and 9th grade students selected this year met income requirements and submitted a written application reviewed by an independent panel of community and business leaders.

The contract also states students must meet with a mentor in the time leading up to their high school graduation.

The 36 new scholarship recipients met with their mentors for the first time Friday during a luncheon at the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers.

Since it's inception, the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools has helped to provide Take Stock in Children Scholarships to 544 at-risk low income students.