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#GEARUPWORKS Stories from Pike County High School

We're excited to hear from Pike County Hight School in Brundidge, AL about how GEAR UP Alabama is affecting the lives of students... and parents! 

Joshlyn Johnson

Joshlyn Johnson (above) is the Discover Student for Pike County High School, Brundidge, AL. She attended this year's Discover Program at the University of Montevallo and shared her experience in saying, “This is my second trip to UM. My favorite part of Discover is the ability to look into college life. I also enjoy learning what campus looks like and how I can get involved in so many things on campus.”

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A GEAR UP Alabama parent, Mrs. Krystina Pittman (above), has received her approval letter for the parent Scholar Program. She plans to attend the Alabama Aviation College, a branch of Enterprise State Community College, Ozark, AL with a major in Helicopter Mechanics. She is the proud mother of GUA student, Justin Pittman. Congratulations, Mrs. Pittman!

These Pike County High School students have a lot to say about their Kaplan books! 

“The Kaplan books were a really big help. I feel comfortable knowing how some questions may appear on the ACT. I’m glad we used them.” Caniyan Linson

“At first I regretted using another book, but Kaplan helped me a lot by giving me practice with areas I struggle in.” Jimmy Kennedy

Kaplan Books

“Kaplan helps me get ready for the ACT and review info from my last class.” -Cristal Rodriguez

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“The book helps me by making me think about the questions. Most questions are common sense. It is very useful.” Raeleigh Beaty

We love hearing how GEAR UP Alabama is working in the everyday lives of our students and parents! Have you see how #GEARUPWORKS at your own school or in your own child's life? Email avray@uab.edu to tell your #GEARUPWORKS story today!

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Renee Goss, Site Facilitator for Greenville High School, had an encouraging conversation with a GEAR UP Alabama parent this month that is proof that #GEARUPWorks.

Mrs. Cheryl Calvin is the mother of two GEAR UP Alabama students, Brysen (9th grade) and Romen (10th grade) as well as two sons outside of the GUA cohorts. Mrs. Calvin explained to Mrs. Goss that GEAR UP Alabama is the reason she has chosen to keep her family in Greenville, far away from other family members, since GUA is providing such outstanding resources for her sons. Mrs. Calvin said, “I’ll never leave as long as the GEAR UP Alabama program is available. I’m so thankful for the benefits my sons are receiving through it.”

All of us in the GUA office were so encouraged by Mrs. Calvin’s comments. With 10,808 students, it’s easy for stories like this to get lost, but we want to hear all of them! Have you had an encouraging conversation with a GUA parent? Are you a GUA parent with stories of how the program is impacting your kids’ lives? Share it with us! Email avray@uab.edu

Story submitted by Renee Goss

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Hale County High School at UA

On March 7th, Hale County High School visited The University of Alabama.  

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The students from Dr. Daniel's service learning class taught two of CAMP's Early College and Career Advising sessions. The HCHS students had a tour of the university, ate lunch at one of the school's cafeterias (provided by UA), and had a couple of professors/academic advisors talk to them about opportunities for scholarships and majors at the University of Alabama.

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It was a great day for our GEAR UP Alabama students! Thank you to Dr. Daniel and his students for hosting us!

Submitted by Thomasyne Hill

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Selma High School Black History School Tour

On February 21st, Selma High School Site Facilitator, Louretta Wimberly led a “Black Heritage in School Tour” for her students. Ms. Wimberly has presented this tour many times before during Black History Month, as the information is the product of The Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission. The tour was developed under her leadership as she has worked as the Chairperson of the council.


This tour took place in Selma High School and led students and staff through different parts of Black History in Alabama.

The topics included:

  • Keeper Of the Faith: Early Education of Blacks in the Church
  • Cahaba, Alabama: The first capitol of Alabama, which is only 15 miles from Selma
  • Rosenwalds Schools to Public Schools
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Civil Rights Era in Alabama
  • The Voting Rights Movement
  • The Selma to Montgomery March, which led to the passing of the Voting Rights Bill in August of 1965
  • The Selma to Montgomery Historic March route being declared a National Historic Road and in 1996, it being declared as an All American Historic Road. this makes it the only road listed in the National Trails by the National Park Service taken by African Americans.


The tour lasted all day and gave students the chance to learn about the history that surrounds them. Ms. Wimberly loved leading the tour and we are so glad that she was able to share all of this information with our students!

Information submitted by: Ms. Louretta Wimberly

Written by: Ashton Ray

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2018 Future Proof Conference Was a Success!

This past Friday and Saturday, February 23rd and 24th, GEAR UP Alabama hosted our first ever Future Proof Conference at Alabama State University in Montgomery. The event was two days of learning how to future proof our GEAR UP Alabama students, and we'd say that it was a success! 

We are proud to report that nearly 100 people showed up on both Friday and Saturday to participate in the conference!

On Friday we learned about making our ePrep and ACT data actionable with Alexandria Croom; we learned about ACT resources available to us via Cailin Papszycki, Director, Pre-College Institutional Partnerships for Kaplan Test Prep; and we had a dynamic motivational speech delivered by Ms. Tammy Simmons, Counselor at Central High School in Tuscaloosa City Schools. Ms. Simmons also gave us countless ideas about dual enrollment and enrichment activities. 

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On Saturday, the men of the Atlanta based non-profit, Let Us Make Man, left us wanting more critical conversations about the students and communities we serve! The students from Barbour County High School were lined up to take pictures with Mr. Keene Walker after his presentation, "Finding the Genius in Our Youth," and gave him a standing ovation during our group debriefing! The other presentations offered on Saturday included "What's Next? College, Trade, or Careers," and "Making the Modern Family Work." The adults were so inspired by the day, the GUA team immediately began discussing when Let Us Make Man will be back and how we can build from the momentum created Saturday. 

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It was an amazing day! We grateful to the number of students, parents, teachers, principals and superintendents that came out! We were also excited to see the ACCS, IHE partners, and pastors from the Black Belt Region! 

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Students from Barbour High School with Keene Walker of Let Us Make Man

To contact Let Us Make Man, you can visit them on the web or contact Dr. Gerry White: drglwhite@gmail.com. Their 2018 conference will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 7:00am-5:00pm at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, GA. 

We are so glad that our first Future Proof Conference was a success and we can't wait to implement everything we learned into GEAR UP Alabama. 

See more photos from Friday & Saturday.

Photos & Content by Dr. Samantha Elliott Briggs 

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