In the News

Students and teachers from one Hoover middle school spent part of their summer helping students at a rural Alabama school that lacks Hoover's resources.

During the summer, Berry Middle School helped provide books for G.P. Austin Middle School in Marengo County through a program called “GEAR UP Alabama.” “GEAR UP” stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.”

Run through the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), GEAR UP functions as a discretionary grant program designed to assist students in low-income areas as they prepare to enter postsecondary education.

Berry Middle School curriculum and instruction specialist Dianna Minor and media specialist Ginger Hewitt spearheaded the efforts.

“The idea of donating came about after Mrs. Hewitt began organizing Berry’s Media Center to be more ‘genre’-centered, which students are accustomed to when they visit bookstores. Through the reorganization of our media center, we had extra copies of some titles,” Minor said. “Being from a small town in Alabama, I understand the importance of students in rural areas having access to resources. This is still a challenge in our state.”

Through her own connections, Minor eventually made contact with Veronique Zimmerman-Brown, project director for GEAR UP Alabama. They identified G.P. Austin Middle School as the recipient of hundreds of well-kept books from the Berry Middle School Media Center.

“[GEAR UP Alabama] has done many great things to improve literacy in the Black Belt region. We’re both working towards a common goal: improving literacy in Alabama. It only takes one book to inspire a child,” Minor said. “One book to motivate a child. One book can open up a whole new world for a child. We want to continue to be part of that journey of improving literacy in Alabama.”

Source: 280 Living