Lufkin high school student 'GEAR UP' for college

Lufkin high school student 'GEAR UP' for college

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Tenth grader Chloe Vineyard has two more years of high school, but she already knows where she wants to go to college and what she wants to study.

"I thought about going to Texas A&M State University or Stephen F. Austin State University, and I thought about becoming a surgeon, Vineyard said.

Like Vineyard, Ernesto Alvardo has also mapped out his future.

"I did my research on engineering schools and I want to go to northwestern university because they have the number one engineering program," Alvardo said.

Both Lufkin ISD students entered high school with a game plan. They were fortunate to be part of a federal funded program that teaches students college readiness.

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

Vicki Evans, who is in charge of the Gear Up program for Angelina County, said several county school districts in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties received grants out of 64 nationwide.

"We were granted this grant based on the information that a lot of our high school students were not going to post secondary opportunities," Evans said.

The grant spans over roughly a six to seven year time span. Evans said they chose to follow Vineyard and Alvardo's class when they were in 7th grade. Evans said she has seen firsthand how it has transformed the students. Vineyard, who was once timid, is now confident with her abilities.

"It has allowed me to explore colleges. They taught me how to apply for colleges and scholarships," Vineyard said.

"Recently I went to an SAT boot camp and I had no clue about the SAT, the format but now I am very confident." Alvardo said.

Evans said although a selected few were chosen for the program, this program helps school districts implement a sustainable system.

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