GAINING EARLY AWARENESS AND READINESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS (GEAR UP)

Southridge celebrates GEAR UP Week

September 21st marked the first day of National GEAR UP Week and Southridge High School was ready to celebrate! We started off the week with our Dream Wall on Monday. GEAR UP was set up in front of a bulletin board in the main hallway during lunch in hopes that Southridge students would share their dreams and future plans with the rest of the school by writing on a cloud that would be posted to the board. They did not disappoint! By the end of the lunch period we were happily surprised to find that every inch of the bulletin board was covered with dream clouds.

Some students wrote both college and career dreams such as, ‘I want to go to UW and be an FBI Profiler‘, ‘Pennsylvania State University to study International Business’, ‘Attend WSU to be an X-Ray Technician’ and ‘Go to University of Idaho for Architecture’. Other clouds covered the board with dream careers such as dental hygienist, anthropologist, pilot, pediatrician, anesthesiologist, cardiologist, lawyer and marine biologist. Colleges like University of Oregon, Alabama State, Washington State University, Arizona State University, Stanford and the University of Washington were all represented on the dream clouds by students who were unsure of a career, but knew the college they’d like to attend. It’s safe to say our Southridge students are full of goals and dreams that they work at achieving every day!

Tuesday was College T-Shirt Day. Students and staff were asked to come to school wearing any and all college apparel that they may have to show their college pride! Freshman and seniors battled sophomores and juniors for Spirit Points and sophomores and juniors came out on top for this competition. GEAR UP upped the stakes this year and held classroom competitions as well. Our GEAR UP ambassadors counted all college apparel wearers in 2nd period classes. The 2nd period class with the highest average of students wearing college apparel won a doughnut party. First place this year was won by Mrs. Stiles’ leadership class!

I heart GEAR UP day was next and included a photo op during lunch on Wednesday! Students and staff showed their love to the GEAR UP program by posing in our photo booth that was made by GEAR UP ambassadors, with props and signs saying “I love GEAR UP” and “I’m going to college”. It was an event to not be missed! GEAR UP posted all of the photo booth pics to their Twitter page using the I Love GEAR UP hashtag. Pictures with the most likes won a candy bar from GEAR UP and of course bragging rights!

Teachers got to show their competitive side on Thursday for our College Door Competition day! GEAR UP asked teachers to decorate their doors with a college theme of their Alma mater for the chance to win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place or earn the title of ‘Teacher’s Choice’ or ‘Student’s Choice’. On the morning of 9/24 the Southridge halls were filled with college pride as door after door was covered in college colors and decorations like Eastern Eagles, UW huskies, Gonzaga and WSU flags, Idaho Vandals and Brigham Young cougars. GEAR UP staff had the tough job of judging these amazing doors, but win or lose, all teachers were given thank you treats for participating in the competition and helping spread college awareness and pride!  

To finish off the week with a bang, GEAR UP took juniors and sophomores on a college campus visit to the University of Washington. Students that earned a high cumulative GPA and showed interest in attending UW were selected to tour this giant campus in Seattle. We were escorted by four UW student ambassadors. They explained what UW had to offer academically as well as the extra-curricular opportunities that were found on and off campus. Students learned about the admissions process and got to ask any questions about the UW college experience. The UW student ambassadors shared their own experiences and obstacles in being accepted to this prestigious college. Southridge students were more than just a little intrigued seeing that two of the four presenting UW ambassadors were Southridge alumni! They were able to relate with our Southridge students and made them feel that a future at the University of Washington was attainable. After lunch on campus at the student HUB, we took a tour of the campus where we got to capture some fun group picture shots that can be found on GEAR UP’ s twitter page.

Saying GEAR UP week was a success is an understatement! Our GEAR UP ambassadors had a blast with helping put together this week of college awareness. Southridge students and staff were amazing at participating and supporting the GEAR UP program with the fun contests and activities. The importance of college awareness was in the air! GEAR UP is already planning on how to make National GEAR UP Week bigger and better for next year and staff and students are still reeling from the week’s events. Keep an eye and ear out for what GEAR UP has in store for the rest of the year!

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