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Valley Journals

Students GEAR UP at Taylorsville High

Feb 09, 2016 08:41AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs | Elizabeth.s@mycityjournals.com

Taylorsville - Students at Taylorsville High have the opportunity to GEAR UP for college. 

Created for students in low-income housing, GEAR UP is an acronym for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.” The grant offers seven years in the federal program for assistance and services needed during college. 

“There are always some students that somehow slip through the cracks, and I wish that there were more that we could do.” Andres Dominguez, part of Taylorsville High’s GEAR UP program, said. “But we are always recruiting and trying to find those that would really benefit from what GEAR UP has to offer.” 

Dominguez has been part of the program for over a year. For Dominguez, it was about giving students a chance to be exposed to resources that they may have never had a chance to experience.

“I got involved because it was an opportunity that allowed me to help youth that come from a background similar to my own,” Dominguez said. “I’m in a position to empower, educate and motivate youth.” 

GEAR UP, according to the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, follows students from as early as 7th grade throughout their high school career. The program helps students through tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education and college scholarships. While GEAR UP helps students take part in scholarships, the program also offers both state and partnership grants for students. 

GEAR UP was authorized in the 1998 amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 and was signed into public law the same year by then president Bill Clinton. The reasoning behind the GEAR UP program, according to Clinton, was due to the reaction of how little low-income students actually went to college, or succeeded with some higher education level. 

“In today’s global economy, what you earn depends on what you learn,” Clinton said. “This bill will make it easier for millions of Americans to get the higher education they need to succeed in the global economy.” 

Dominguez believes Utah could become better if the communication between students and programs could be enhanced. He suggested more ways of communication or even enhancing current ways. 

“We are working on different social media platforms to see which is the most effective to get the word out for our several activities and events,” Dominguez said. “The most recent of those endeavors being Twitter, which has not been as successful as we had initially hoped for.”

Even with social media platforms, students must take their own initiative and participate in events. Students who care will be faithful and will adjust their plans for activities, according to Dominguez.

“The objective is to help prepare them and have them be ready to enter college,” Dominguez said. “Of course there are some events that they can’t make it to, but overall, if they want to be involved we try our best to make activities available for them.”