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

GEAR UP Senior reflects on Prescott High School Years and Plans for Future

Prescott will say good bye to an exemplary student Friday at graduation. Erik Sandoval has been at our school since the third grade. He said that his experience at Prescott has been fantastic.

GEAR UP played an important role in his success. Erik attended Cougar Quest in the 9th grade, an opportunity he would not have had if GEAR UP funds were not available. “GEAR UP completely changed the direction my life was going.” said Erik of GEAR UP. “If I would have graduated at all, I certainly wouldn’t be looking at college.” Erik is enrolled at WSU in Pullman. He and his brother will attend next fall, live off campus and keep jobs to help with the costs. Both Erik and his brother Alberto are extremely interested in business administration. Erik was nominated to go to Washington DC during the summer before his junior year. During that trip he was able to visit Columbia University, NYU, and Georgetown. In all, Erik has visited 16 college campuses because of the GEAR UP grant. Erik was also invited to go to Business week and Health Care week at Gonzaga University his junior and senior years respectively. It was at Business week that he changed his occupational goal of aeronautical engineering to business. “I may change my mind again,” he said, “but that is ok because at least I know I am going to college and will have so many more options as an adult than I might have.” GEAR UP has also provided many of the students with laptops to use during school hours. Having access to technology has made all the difference.

GEAR UP HOH III Student Success 2014

Yoali Ortega is a smart and charismatic young woman. Her life goals are high, and the standards she sets for herself are not typical of others in her class. I was not at all surprised to learn that she would be competing in the GEAR UP Career Showcase at WSU Tri Cities

Yoali’s presentation was about Pediatrics. She would like to be a pediatrician and took the time to investigate what that would entail. She did not flinch at the amount of schooling or the rigor of the programs. “My dad wanted to be a doctor. It was a dream he had that can never be fulfilled. I can do this for him and for me.” Yoali said.

Parents were invited to WSU Tri Cities, enjoyed a catered meal, and watched as each student was introduced and presented their projects. Yoali said she was nervous of course, but not as nervous as she thought she would be. For their participation, each student received a Texas Instruments Graphing Calculator. In future years it is likely that Yoali will benefit from the GEAR UP program many more times before she graduates and takes the next steps into adulthood.

GEAR UP Tutoring at Prescott School

At Prescott School, the GEAR UP before and after school programs are a big part of the culture for HOH II and HOH III grants. Students drag themselves out of bed to catch a 6:20 am bus, sometimes every morning. Students also stay after school for over an hour to get the same sort of help offered in the morning. For a tutor, this is a great time to connect with students, keep track of their progress, encourage them, and help them with their schoolwork. Some of these kids do not have access to a computer at home. Having an available computer lab before and after school is vital to their success.

The focus for next year will go above and beyond help with schoolwork. Next year’s seniors will meet with GEAR UP tutors to ensure college readiness. Every senior will be signed up for washboard.org. After that they will complete college applications, their FAFSA form, and scholarship applications. Tutors will meet with seniors regularly to make sure they are on track for their individual plans.

The GEAR-UP presence at our small school has made the difference for our students. Going to college is an attainable goal; some students just need a little help getting there. GEAR UP offers many tools for them to use. Tutoring is one of them.

Prescott GEAR UP Students Visit Central Campus

On May 22, twelve AVID students headed off to Ellensburg to tour Central Washington University. Although they did not have a chance to experience the city of Ellensburg, each of the students in this GEAR UP cohort was impressed with the campus. Maribel Martinez, a Prescott ninth-grader said of Central, “The staff there was extremely welcoming and friendly. I feel like I would get plenty of help applying for scholarships or anything else I would need. They also have a Neuroscience program.” Maribel intends to be a pediatrician. After a thorough tour the group ate lunch on campus. Giving 8th and 9th graders a chance to visit college campuses lends to greater motivation to perform well in high school. Actually walking into the buildings, seeing college students in their habitat, and listening to student tour guides makes the dream of college an attainable goal. The students loved the newer buildings and the Japanese Garden. Central is an excellent choice for many of our students because it isn’t that far from home. It is affordable and has an excellent student to faculty ratio.

Prescott GEAR UP Students Attend College Planning Day

On a brisk Friday morning in March, five seniors and eight juniors boarded a bus headed for WSU Tri-Cities to check out College Planning Day. Out of the seventeen colleges and universities represented, the students were allowed to choose four presentations.  Each presentation lasted 30 minutes, which was enough time for an overview of the college and Q&A afterward. Prescott seniors are GEARing-UP for college and many of them have already applied. Yessenia Escalante, who had previously thought she would be attending Eastern in the fall, was especially happy that she had this opportunity. “[College Planning Day] made me realize that WSU Tri-Cities is a better choice for me.  The classes are the same and I will save a ton of money by living at home.”  This event provided a chance for students to view presentations from multiple colleges at one time, which makes it easier to compare them.  They were also afforded the chance to ask questions directly from an expert representing that particular institution. All in all, College Planning Day was a tremendous use of time and effort for the representatives who traveled to it, the students who participated, and the team that organized the event. 

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