The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission recognized the academic achievements of more than 200 GEAR UP students at the sixth annual Governor’s Honors Symposium, held April 5 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. GEAR UP, which stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” is a college preparation initiative providing services to students in ten West Virginia counties. The Symposium highlighted the accomplishments of the program’s 12th-grade students, many of whom have participated in GEAR UP since the seventh grade.
During the Symposium, a representative from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office presented a proclamation designating April 5, 2014 as “West Virginia GEAR UP Day” in recognition of the program’s efforts to ensure equal access to higher education opportunities and increase workforce preparedness in the State.
“West Virginia GEAR UP is one of the Commission’s most unique and innovative efforts,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Commission, said. “Program counselors begin working with students in middle school and continue to guide them — step by step over the course of six years — to find a path that will lead to career success and self-fulfillment. That path is different for every student. Some may choose to pursue a trade certificate program; others may choose a two-year or a four-year degree. Helping these students discover their way and work toward their goals is a truly inspiring experience for our staff, and I believe this work will lead to great outcomes for our state.”
West Virginia GEAR UP is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education. The program serves Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming counties.