GEAR UP Alabama sponsored a Black Belt Friday and my classmates and I were picked to attend. We got to meet so many new people and learn a good deal of interesting information. When we arrived in Greenville at the Central Office, we unloaded the bus. Most of us were anxious to get inside and start the day. We walked inside and were immediately greeted by people. They split us into several different groups.

As the program began, the JROTC cadets presented the colors for us. Then, the superintendent, Mr. John Strycker gave us an introduction. He told us that every one of us could have the opportunity to go to college and be successful. He also said that we could be successful without college. Our Emcee’s recognized the school Principals, Teachers, Site Facilitators, and Regional Coordinator.

Students from every school in the county performed in the GUA Talent Showcase. Bryce Croley from Mckenzie High School read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The Greenville High Jazz band performed several songs for us. Mykel Cheatham from Georgiana High School played the keyboard and sang. All these students did a wonderful job. It showed how talented all of our students really are. Dr. Tonya Perry gave us a gigantic GEAR UP welcome. She taught us the Gear Up chant, which had all of us cheering and laughing. She also introduced us to our UAB mentors for the day.

My group had a UAB student named Sarah. We all introduced ourselves to her and immediately started talking. We talked about lots of things such as college and the classes we are taking. We played an intriguing game of college bingo. We had to mark every word we did not understand. Everyone in our group had no clue what the difference between loans and grants were but she explained the difference to us. She told us about her college and high school experiences and how she got into college and that our ACT scores are crucial to getting into college. I think we all learned a ton of new stuff.

The Culinary Program from Greenville High School catered our event for the day. The food was amazing. We had the choice between hamburgers and turkey wraps. Our sides included a delicious pasta salad, baked beans, and salad with your choice of dressing. We also had sugar cookies and brownies for dessert. After we ate, we had our closing remarks from several people. Mr. Brown, the Principal from Mckenzie School, said a few word to the students and gave a brief history of the school. In conclusion, I think I learned a great deal about college and about life. Overall, this has been a great experience.

By Tabitha Beasley
McKenzie High Schoola