Group of students in graduation robes and leis

National GEAR UP Week 2012 celebrates and highlights the success of the national college access program for low-income students.

The week of September 10–14, 2012 is being celebrated nationwide as National GEAR UP Week 2012, commemorating the continuing success of a national college access program that provides students and families with the resources they need for college success.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered in Hawaiʻi by the University of Hawaiʻi. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income students across the United States.

The national week of celebration has brought attention to the programs and activities that GEAR UP Hawaiʻi has implemented to prepare Hawaiʻi’s low-income middle and high school students to enter and succeed in higher education.

Each year, GEAR UP Hawaiʻi serves over 10,000 low-income students statewide in grades seven through 12 and through their first year in college at University of Hawaiʻi campuses. Through a partnership with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi System as well as the government, nonprofit, and private sectors, GEAR UP Hawaiʻi provides information, encouragement, support, resources, and services to help eliminate achievement gaps among groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

“National GEAR UP Week is a time to highlight all these accomplishments for our program as well as for programs across the country,” says Angela Jackson, GEAR UP program director and associate director of Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education. “To be part of a national effort which inspires hopes and dreams that college is possible and imperative is something worth celebrating.”

See highlights of GEAR UP Hawaiʻi’s efforts as featured on Hawaii News Now and KITV 4.

Fall 2012 activities planned

One of GEAR UP Hawaiʻi’s major initiatives this year was to support students in their first year in college. This summer, GEAR UP sponsored multiple freshman orientation events and activities at the University of Hawaiʻi’s campuses to help ensure students were prepared for college life.

In September, 30 Hawaiʻi public schools throughout the state will receive training and begin to implement, a college and career access web portal designed to help students plan for college and career while in high school.

During the months of October through December, GEAR UP Hawaiʻi will launch the pilot project “College Application and Exploration Season” to assist high school students to explore and apply for college. Volunteers, college faculty and staff will work with five high schools to encourage their seniors to complete a college application and apply for financial aid.

GEAR UP Hawaiʻi will also sponsor over 50 financial aid workshops and events statewide to help families and students apply for financial aid. A complete listing of upcoming events is posted on the GEAR UP Hawaiʻi website.

UH Mānoa GEAR UP releases new video to mark national celebration

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Office of Student Equity Excellence and Diversity marked National GEAR UP Week by announcing the release of a video about the Heritage Language Program at Waipahu High School.

Funded by a federal grant and administered by SEED, the GEAR UP classes in Samoan and Ilokano heritage are designed to help Waipahu High School students gain the confidence that is necessary for academic success in college.

The new video, “GEARING UP with Heritage Language: Waipahu’s Way to College Success,” visits with Waipahu students in their classrooms and homes as they prepare to perform at the annual Heritage Language Showcase, entitled “Pinakbet and Panipopo.”

“Heritage Language is one of many GEAR UP strategies intended to increase college preparation at Waipahu High School, where we have a concentration of low-income students who are also the first in their families to seek higher education. The Waipahu High School staff and community have partnered in this effort that will encourage Waipahu students in their academic and career pursuits and contribute to the sustainability of all Hawaiʻi nei,” said Pat Masters, principal investigator for UH Mānoa GEAR UP Waipahu.

UH Manoa GEAR UP heritage language from UH Manoa Office of SEED on Vimeo.

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