Quite a few 8th grade students at Alton Memorial Junior High School (AMJH) involved in the GEAR UP program have started the school year with some goals met. The students were encouraged to begin doing some community service and volunteer work during the summer break. Six of the students logged 20 hour or more during the break. Those students are: Daniel Cabrera, Karen Fernandez, Vanessa Olvera, Gloria Ramirez, Demetrius Reyna, and Vanessa Villegas.

“I am challenging the GEAR UP students this year with completing some community service or volunteer hours before the end of the school year,” explained Nelda Ramirez, GEAR UP strategist at AMJH. “This is not only to help they start to build their personal portfolio for meeting college and career requirements, but to also learn the importance of giving back and becoming good community members.”

Ramirez says it also gives them an opportunity to start to work on their soft skills and social skills that play an important role in their future career choices. She says the students who got a jump start on their service hours during the summer chose a variety of places that included several schools, a welding company, and the Speer Memorial Library.

The GEAR UP program is designed to increase the number of students who enter and succeed in postsecondary environments.

GEAR UP has two cohorts of students through Region One Education Service Center. They are currently 8th grade students at AMJH and at K. White Jr. High School.