In recognition of the urgent need to help low-income and underrepresented students prepare for a postsecondary education and of the important work being done in Minnesota schools by the Office of Higher Education’s Get Ready program, Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed the week of September21st-25th 2015 as Minnesota GEAR UP Week. HSRA was chosen as the site to kick-off the statewide commemoration rally, held Wednesday, September 23, 2015.
The State of Minnesota receives federal grants through the U. S. Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP). In conjunction with matching state funds, Minnesota’s GEAR UP program, Get Ready, works with thousands of low-income students across the state every year, helping them prepare both academically and aspirational for continuing their education.
“The Get Ready program helps thousands of Minnesota students believe that college can be in their future,” said Larry Pogemiller, Commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. “Many of these students will be the first in their family to continue their education beyond high school, and often lack the tools and the help needed to make college possible.
Gear Up week is a time to recognize the success of the Get Ready program, as well as encourage continued support from state and national leaders.”
In the 2013-2014 school year, over 5,400 elementary, middle and high school students in the Twin Cities Metro area received college awareness and preparation services from OHE’s Get Ready staff. In addition, Get Ready outreach staff worked with over 6,700 low-income students in school districts statewide.
Minnesota GEAR UP week kicked-off with Get Ready schools reading the Governor’s Proclamation to the student body. Students in the participating schools launched a letter-writing campaign to their state and federal elected officials, encouraging continued support for GEAR UP funding. These letters were hand delivered by some of the students to local Congressional offices, as well as the offices of state senators and representatives.
This year, an event was held at High School for Recording Arts during the student’s Community Meeting. Commissioner Pogemiller emphasized the importance of education and the being prepared for success after high school. Highlights of the event included student performances and pizza.