April 17, 2024

Graduates of GEAR UP

This archived article was written by: Katrina Wood, assistant editor

Created to broaden horizons and prepare students for college, GEAR UP offers further assistance in college for those who were enrolled during junior high or high school.

GEAR UP is a federally-funded college readiness program that has supported lower-income students since 1999. It began assisting students at surrounding schools in 2006, and offered an excess of tools to help students aim and prepare for college. For those who have actively participated in the program, it has given students a glimpse into a future they never thought possible.
Its main goal is to open the possibility of attending college to students who never considered going, whether it be from a lack of money or drive to attend, and to assist them in enrolling and graduating from college. It encourages students to stay in school, helps them raise and keep their grades up, and provides an abundance of strategies and tools to assist them in their goal to reach college.

ACT prep, FAFSA workshops and tutoring are just a few of the tools GEAR UP offers.
In addition to support in classes they struggle with and assistance in learning how to take college-entrance exams, GEAR UP also helps students search for scholarships and supports them with college admission and career searches. It holds family workshops, and sets up job-shadowing opportunities at the various locations in Carbon and Emery counties.
Known primarily for its advising and tutoring at the high school, this year GEAR UP is harboring its second batch of first-year students at USU Eastern.

Students of GEAR UP who participated during their junior high or high school years have the opportunity to participate in this new part of the GEAR UP program and receive further assistance in their education goals. In addition, they also have the chance to join the new GEAR UP Club, which meets twice a month so students can ask questions, find tutors, receive assistance and enjoy refreshments.

The first-year students at USU Eastern make up 20 of the approximate 350 students enrolled in the region. For their first year of college, they continue to be a part of the GEAR UP Program, and continue to be overseen by Brenda Rawson, who enjoys working with the students despite the paperwork and tracking. “The funnest part and the thing I look forward to the most is going out and working with the kids.”

The program, though no longer in its infancy, is young. It isn’t as well-known as the similar program, Upward Bound, but is making progress. The program is expanding rapidly in larger cities across the nation, and is likewise growing larger in Utah and its 11 regions. In particular, it continues to develop at USU Eastern and its seven surrounding schools and offer help to the students who participate.

Students who are a part of GEAR UP’s first-year program can contact Rawson through her email, [email protected], or find her in SAC 118. GEAR UP is here to help point the students in the right direction and support them in reaching their goals, and it’s more than willing to help.

A local student who never considered going to college because of lack of money and parental support is now a first-generation college student, thanks to GEAR UP. Hank Parry, who started in the GEAR UP Program in ninth grade said, “I wanna stress that GEAR UP is the place to be if you’re worried about attending college or you have any questions about college. They are the spearhead that can give you all that information needed to succeed in college.” GEAR UP can offer help, and as shown by students such as Parry who is here only because he started GEAR UP in ninth grade, can make a difference.