Students celebrate National Gear Up Week

Members+of+the+Galileo+Gear+Up+cohort+take+a+picture+Sept.+14+with+E.J.+Carrion+who+visited+Galileo+and+GW+to+talk+about+the+importance+of+having+a+mentor+in+their+corner.+
Members of the Galileo Gear Up cohort take a picture Sept. 14 with E.J. Carrion who visited Galileo and GW to talk about the importance of having a mentor in their corner.

Members of the Galileo Gear Up cohort take a picture Sept. 14 with E.J. Carrion who visited Galileo and GW to talk about the importance of having a mentor in their corner.

Jennings Deane

Jennings Deane

Members of the Galileo Gear Up cohort take a picture Sept. 14 with E.J. Carrion who visited Galileo and GW to talk about the importance of having a mentor in their corner.

Ashlee Jones, Editor

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This week National Gear Up Week and Danville Public Schools is not wasting any time getting their sophomores ready for college with Galileo and GW holding several events in celebration.

Gear Up is a federally funded program by the state council for higher education in Virginia created to encourage education partnerships to provide or maintain a guarantee of financial assistance to participating low-income students pursuing post-secondary education.

Participating students were introduced to this program and signed up for it while in the seventh grade in 2014-2015 while attending a Danville Public Schools middle school.

“What happens is they provide college visits, mentoring opportunities, any sort of college awareness to help increase the rate of students that attend a college or university,” School Counselor Kendra Hatchett said.

The Gear Up program works with these students from their seventh grade year up until their freshman year of college.

According to Hatchett, Galileo has 57 Gear Up students and George Washington High School has about 300 or more.

“They measure the progress of students in the cohort versus students who are not in Gear Up in the same grade,” Hatchett said. “Providing all of these opportunities makes a difference.”

In honor of National Gear Up Week, Hatchett has planned several activities for members of the cohort with a field trip to the University of Virginia planned for GW and Galileo students on Wednesday. Students will depart GW at 6:15 a.m. for Charlottesville and then turn in time for a 4 p.m. pick up at the school.

“I’m really excited for it actually,” Member of the Galileo Gear Up program Austin Wade said  of the UVa trip. “We’ve already gone there once and it was really fun last time.”

On Thursday faculty, staff and students are encouraged to wear their favorite college shirt to celebrate college readiness and Friday everyone will be signing a Gear Up banner, created by Ashley Murphy’s art 3 students.

“I’m very involved in the activities and programs that Gear Up has for us,” Member of the Gear Up cohort at Galileo Kwannya Foster said. “Everything is really fun and sometimes we’ll go to college trips that can last anywhere from one to three days.”

Hatchett encourages students to begin planning for college as soon as freshman year as schools look at your whole high school career to make their final decision.

“You should prepare for SATs or ACTs, manage your grades, find extracurricular activities and make sure you find a school that best fits you,” Hatchett said. “Why wait until senior year to do all of this when you could take the initiative and get a head start now?”  

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Students celebrate National Gear Up Week