More than 5,000 school district students 'GEAR UP' for college

Benjamin Franklin 10th-grader Dang Nguien plans to be the first in his family to attend college.

Justin Udo
September 24, 2018 - 3:15 pm
Students participate in the GEAR UP program.

Justin Udo | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For some high school students, applying to college may be overwhelming. But the School District of Philadelphia wants to make the process more accessible, with more than 5,000 students taking part in GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, a program aimed at getting them ready and excited about going to college.

For Dang Nguien, a 10th-grader at Benjamin Franklin High School, the program's mentors, college field trips, and tutoring sessions gave him the kick he needed to start seriously thinking about going to college.

"It's great, and it's definitely good for you," Nguien said. "I was hesitating at first, but now, I want to go." 

Thanks to GEAR UP, Nguien plans on becoming the first person in his family to attend college with hopes to study pre-medicine at Temple University. 

Dr. Malika Savoy-Brooks, the school district's chief of academic support, says GEAR UP serves more than just the students, with "teachers receiving academic instructional support so that they can support the students that they serve." 

Throughout the next week, Nguien and Gear Up students at 12 Philly schools will take part in National GEAR UP Week that culminates with a cookout for all of the schools at the school district parking lot.

"In each school they'll have assembly's celebrating GEAR UP," Savoy-Brooks explains. "They'll also have mentors and partners coming in to talk about post secondary options."