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In 2011, the US Department of Education awarded a 19-million dollar grant to The Bibb County School District.

The Bibb County Gear Up Project Team ensures the grant money provides educational services to a group of students from their 6th and 7th grade years, throughout their high school graduations in 2017 and 2018.

These students are now in ninth and tenth grade.

Russell Hill is a freshman at Northeast High School. He's also one of the students who benefits from the Gear Up Grant.

"The goal is to get our kids to stay engaged in school, get them to graduate from high school and to make sure they're college and career ready," explained Gear Up Project Director, Janice Flowers.

Since 2011, the grant has served more than 350-thousand students. Students receive support services like tutoring, mentoring, and college tours.

Although there have been a few drop outs, the program has been very successful, according to Flowers.

Hill has been with Gear Up for five years.

"It allows me to reach out to my fellow classmates and show them that they need to gear up and get ready for life," said Hill.

That's exactly what he's doing because he said he has big plans for his future. Hill plans to attend Mercer University and major in business or pre-med. He also hopes to one day own his own business.

Copyright 2014 WMGT-DT

Source: 41 NBC News