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Students Share Successes from “Pep Up, GEAR UP” Week

Photo FrameSeptember 29, 2022 – A weeklong introduction to Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs is almost finished, and to hear about it from the seventh graders who have participated, it’s been an enlightening experience.

GEAR UP follows cohorts of seventh graders as they move up into high school and all the way to their first year of college. Working specifically with students at Title I schools, who are statistically less likely to pursue a degree, GEAR UP is all about making young people aware of their options for life after high school. “Pep Up, GEAR UP” week only has to put the thought of college in these students’ heads before they move on to more complex GEAR UP activities later on, but this year’s seventh grade class hasn’t wasted any time getting engaged.

“We’re getting older, and everything is about to actually get started,” said seventh grader Braylon Flynt. “You’ve got to put the work in early.”

Classroom ConversationsStudents have been talking to their teachers about their time in college for perspective on what it’s like, browsing programs at schools in their home region and around the country, and getting a feel for all of the key tools they’ll want to use when applying for college, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There’s been plenty of fun to be had as well, with photo ops involving GEAR UP props and hotly contested quiz competitions for prizes. Seventh graders have been making memories, but most importantly, they’ve gotten a valuable head start in choosing a direction for their lives.

“You really have to think about it,” said seventh grader Abrielle Jones. “You really have to think about what you want to do with your future.”

Teachers and administrators couldn’t be happier with the way that students are taking ownership over “Pep Up, GEAR UP” Week. They’ve seen students who have never considered higher education a possibility thinking about schools to visit and majors to research. None of these scholars will miss out on college because they didn’t know enough about their options – that’s the best start the new GEAR UP Repping Collegescohort could possibly get off to.

“As an educator and as a mom, I’m overwhelmed with emotion,” said Charlene Thomas at East Forsyth Middle School. “There are kids who have never thought about college before, and now not only are they thinking about college, they’re serious about it. They’re thinking ahead about some of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make.”

Jake Browning
jbrowning2@wsfcs.k12.nc.us
(336) 727-8213 Ext. 70545