Ferris' GEAR UP Program Creates Higher Education Awareness in Muskegon

Kia HunterThe torch of leadership will be passed down from graduating seniors to seventh grade students in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights as part of Ferris State University’s GEAR UP program.

The pre-college program, an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program, is designed to offer students the academic skills, information and encouragement they need to not only graduate from high school, but apply and attend an institution of higher education.

Ferris’ GEAR UP program will host a Passing the Torch Ceremony on Friday, May 18 at Muskegon High School in Muskegon. The event is designed to celebrate the program’s achievement in Muskegon and Muskegon Heights, said coordinator Kia Hunter of Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services.

“I encourage community leaders to come support the coming together of two communities, celebrating the hard work and dedication of these seventh and 12th grade GEAR UP students,” Hunter said. “The torch of leadership and excellence will be passed down from graduating seniors to the new cohort of GEAR UP students to reinforce the college-going culture in communities.”

The program, funded nationally by the U.S. Department of Education, by the State of Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency, and locally by its project partners, is housed in OMSS on Ferris’ Big Rapids campus.

“We begin working with these students in their seventh-grade year and follow them through high school graduation,” said Charisse Welborn, AmeriCorp VISTA member. “Through this program’s goals, our students will not only succeed in and outside the classroom, but will gain the skills necessary to be a graduate from an institution of higher education.”

GEAR UP facilitates student tutoring and mentoring, offers workshops for college preparation, financial aid and how to compete for scholarships, and assists schools and teachers to better prepare students for college studies.

For more information regarding this event and to RSVP, call (231) 591-5042. Deadline to RSVP is Wednesday, May 16.

Last updated: 07-24-2012