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Appalachian Educational Outreach Featured on UNC-TV May 1

BOONE-Appalachian State University’s involvement with a program called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) will be included on a UNC-TV special that airs May 1 at 6 p.m. In Watauga County, UNC-TV is viewed on channel 13.

The television program, titled “GEAR UP North Carolina,” will showcase the statewide benefits of the federally-funded GEAR UP program.

The U.S. Department of Education funds two types of grants for GEAR UP programs. States are given GEAR UP funding to establish a statewide early intervention program. The GEAR UP North Carolina grant provides funding to 20 counties. Partnership grants provide funding to partnerships between public schools and local colleges and universities. Appalachian has a GEAR UP partnership grant with Ashe County Schools.

Through that partnership, Appalachian’s GEAR UP staff trains university students to be mentors and tutors for middle and high school students. Appalachian also hosts college visits and sponsors discussion groups about how to prepare for college.

GEAR UP provides academic support to students. More than 95 percent of Ashe County middle school students scored at or above grade level in reading and math in 2004, compared to less than 71 percent being at grade level in 1997.

The television special highlights the high ropes challenge course that is part of the College Adventure Weekend. The weekend is held annually at the university’s Camp Broadstone and allows high school students the opportunity to visit a college campus and participate in physically and psychologically challenging experiences that will prepare them for the transition to college.

North Carolina’s GEAR UP programs seeks to improve the state’s economy by increasing the number of students who complete high school and attend college. Only one in four North Carolina adults has a college degree. Over the course of a lifetime, an individual with a college degree will earn more than $1 million more than someone with only a high school diploma.

For more information about Appalachian’s GEAR UP program, contact College Awareness Program Interim Director Chuck Bowling at (828) 262-2846.