GEAR-UP Institute Fosters Leadership Skills and Self-Confidence

May 30, 2002

Students from eight West Virginia counties received an early taste of summer by attending the annual West Virginia GEAR-UP Institute at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley earlier this week. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP) ensures middle and high school students every opportunity to be prepared for college studies.  

The United States Department of Education awarded the West Virginia Department of Education a $10 million grant over the next five years to make this project a reality in eight counties.  

For three days, seventh and eighth graders from Clay, Hampshire, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Monroe, Pocahontas and Roane counties participated in summer camp activities that will help instill self-confidence and leadership characteristics and help prepare them academically and financially for college. Next year, the program hopes to expand its participation by including ninth and tenth graders.  

“This program provides such a wonderful opportunity to children,” said Dr. David Stewart, State Superintendent of Schools. “Students become more aware of the choices they have after they complete high school and are now better prepared because of this program.”  

More than 300 students participated in a wide variety of classes offered during their three-day adventure. Students could participate in academic classes such as art, Native American history and chemistry. They also had the opportunity to sign up for the more traditional camp activities such as archery, pottery, quilting and photography. State colleges were also on hand to answer any questions students had regarding their post-secondary education.  

GEAR-UP gives all students the skills, encouragement and academic preparation needed to pursue post-secondary education, including technical school, community college or four-year college. It raises academic achievement standards for all students and ensures that both students and parents are knowledgeable about college preparation requirements, opportunities, financial planning options and offers scholarship programs.  

For more information regarding the GEAR-UP program, please contact Dr. Marsha Carey with the Department of Education, at (304) 558-2122  

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