Jordan Larson wants to be a heart surgeon, and he is dead serious about it. After recently winning a semifinalist position in Pioneer’s GEAR UP Career Showcase Competition, Jordan is well aware that he will be spending the next 16 years in school pursuing his dream. And the reality of how much hard work and discipline it will take to reach his goal has started to make an impact on the choices he makes every day as an 8th grade student.
Earlier this year, Jordan attended On TRAC, a GEAR UP supported after school program for students whose lack of academic success is due not to lack of ability or aptitude, but lack of good study habits and organizational skills. Every day, Jordan had a set time and place to get his homework done. He learned the importance of keeping an organized binder and using a planner to keep track of his assignments. After 2 months of practicing these habits, Jordan raised his grades significantly, and graduated from On TRAC.
Because of Jordan’s success in On TRAC, and the fact that he will be the 1st in his family to attend college, Jordan became a part of GEAR UP’s Student Achievement Program, where he receives 1:1 guidance to help map out and successfully navigate his path through high school and beyond. One essential element of this process is being able to accurately assess one’s own strengths and challenges, and knowing how to build upon those strengths, and how to find the right support to address those challenges.
And Jordan is well on his way. He has continued practicing the habits he learned in On TRAC, and had the satisfaction of watching his GPA climb steadily over the course of the year. He still has work to do in order to achieve the kind of grades that will earn him a place at a competitive 4-year university. Knowing this, and looking forward to the increased rigor and workload of high school, Jordan has chosen to enter a program similar to On TRAC at Walla Walla High School next year. Jordan knows himself well, and has both the maturity and the motivation to make the smart choices today that will pay off years from now.