DeWitt High School and Middle School students participated in the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) two-week summer program at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) DeWitt campus from June 9-20.
The program is a part of a federal grant awarded to PCCUA with three main objectives:
1. Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education;
2. Increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education; and
3. Increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
The program opened on Monday, June 9, at 11:30 a.m. with a parent orientation and fish fry sponsored by GEAR UP partner Farmers and Merchants Bank. Parents were informed of the curriculum and details for all field trips.
The orientation and fish fry were held on the main campus with parents and all the participating GEAR UP students.
The theme for the program was Wind, Water and Weather, which included students learning about renewable energy technology, different types of natural disasters and structural integrity. Introducing students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields, they gained hands on challenging experiences plus a better awareness of related careers.
Students designed and built bridges to withstand at least 20 pounds, large scale cardboard boats and their own beach communities that would be victim to a natural disaster at the end of the program. A parent hour program, “Whose Boat will Float,” was held at DeWitt City Park June 19 in which students presented what they had learned during the program and tested their boats out on the open water.
Field trips were taken the first week to Cook’s Lake, Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge and U. S. Army Corp of Engineers Norrell Lock and Dam No. 2. The second week students visited the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, KATV Channel 7 news station, All Aboard Restaurant and Arkansas Skatium in Little Rock.
Students, in grades six through nine, included Ana Barajas, Jorge Chavez, Zhasmene Clark, Ryan Coit, Jacob Crockett, TJ Cupples, Nicholas Dawes, Asiah Gibson, Haley Goudelock, Cloe Guynes, Justin Midkiff, Kaitlyn Morgan, Deven Malone and Destiny Oswalt. The program was directed by the DeWitt PCCUA GEAR UP Liaison Diana Graves with the help of instructor Hunter Smith and Youth Specialists Ty Wattanaphuti and Alexis AufderHeide.
Source: Stuttgart Daily Leader