BULLHEAD CITY — Mayor Tom Brady honored 425 juniors at Mohave and River Valley High Schools by recognizing the schools’ college-bound GEAR UP program.
GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program” and is a federally funded college access initiative designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to not only attend college but also community college, vocational school, military service and the workforce.
Three GEAR UP students from each high school accepted a proclamation from Brady at City Hall marking Arizona GEAR UP Week in Bullhead City.
“GEAR UP program activities have focused on showing students that further education is more of an expectation than a dream,” Brady’s proclamation noted. He shared how his experience at Southern Illinois University was interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, returned to finish his bachelor’s degree, and moved to become a graduate assistant at Arizona State University.
He told the students how his education and experience prepared him for three distinct local careers: Mohave County’s first parks director for 19 years, Bullhead City justice of the peace for a decade, and finally, mayor.
“Your college experience will serve you very well,” he said. “There’s nothing you can’t accomplish through your own efforts, perseverance and work ethic.”
Students in the classes of 2018 have had GEAR UP program coordinators since junior high school. Diane Beardsley at River Valley and Amber Parker-DeWitt at Mohave are the current high school program coordinators.
River Valley student Nick Saucedo told Brady that “GEAR UP has changed my life.” He added that he wants to go to college and become a math teacher.
Mohave student Jake Williams explained how he was one of only four Arizona GEAR UP students invited to participate in the National Council for Community and Education Partnership’s summer youth leadership summit in Washington, D.C. Williams is a Community Achievement Award finalist for entrepreneur of the year; in April, at age 15, he opened “Sugar Shack,” a shaved ice business on the Laughlin River Walk as his project in the local Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Brady’s proclamation added that GEAR UP focuses on students from underserved communities who might be the first in their families to go to college.
Source: Mohave Valley News