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: 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