HC Schools ‘gear-up’ for future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

MURFREESBORO – Designed to increase the number of students attending colleges, universities and/or technical schools immediately following high school, Gear-up NC is targeting students from seventh to twelfth grade along with their families, educators, community and business leaders in an effort to develop the skills students need to attend college and effect a higher level of education to ensure their future success.

&uot;We are one of only 25 of the 100 counties the state of North Carolina that participates in this program,&uot; said Robert Chadwick, Gear-up Coordinator for Hertford County Middle School and Hertford County High School.

Celebrating its third year in Hertford County, the program offers early awareness, career advising and exploration, academic support, cultural awareness, service learning, mentoring and even financial aid.

&uot;By providing early educational intervention through tutoring and mentoring students that are enrolled in academically challenging courses at the middle and high school levels, coupled with early parental involvement in the career and educational planning process, we can offer a stimulating environment and practice ground that will help students succeed,&uot; he said.

Chadwick, who travels to various public schools in the county in an effort to recruit students to participate in the program, has already recruited about 260 middle school students and estimates between 300-400 young people to attend the program’s kick off event, which is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on September 30.

&uot;We’re really excited about it,&uot; said Chadwick. Some of the event’s guests include number one rated daytime radio station personality Chris Caliente from 103 Jams, three -time Junior Olympics gold medallist Lashwan Merritt, who was rated the fastest man in the world for the 400 meter dash, and Ruben Young Chief Legal Council for NC Governor Mike Easley.

Chadwick, who coaches baseball on the side, said that Young’s sons had been his ball boys in the past and was looking forward to the time of fellowship with all who could attend.

&uot;We’re going to have a great time,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re planning on having a big cookout that day and the CIAA mobile unit is going to be there as well.&uot;

The CIAA is the third largest basketball conference in the nation and is comprised of 12 historical black colleges, eight of which are in North Carolina.

&uot;The CIAA is going to be doing a lot of fun activities, give-a-ways and trivia and will have a play station hub for students to utilize while they’re there,&uot; he said.

Last year, approximately 25 high school students who participated in the program attended a community college, while about 40 of the graduates chose to attend four-year colleges.

&uot;My goal is to double the number of kids going to college from last year and to get more kids interested in pursuing an education beyond high school,&uot; said Chadwick.

The Gear-up program also promotes early awareness of scholarship opportunities, student loans and other financial information.

The event is open to the public.