GEAR UP students

Celebrating the graduation and scholarships of the first class of GEAR UP students are (back row left to right) Deb Condor, East Toledo Junior High School GEAR UP coordinator; Amanda Vrooman,part-time BGSU GEAR UP office manager; Chris MacDonald, GEAR UP assistant director; Dr. Bill Armaline, GEAR UP co-director; Becky Schardt, Waite High School GEAR UP coordinator; Dr. Kathy Farber, GEAR UP co-director, and Dr. Nancy Patterson, BGSU liaison.
(Front row left to right) Future BGSU students Holly Gross, Kristin Brown and Alysia Martin (Not pictured: Joel Newton)

First GEAR UP scholars to enter BGSU

The GEAR UP program has celebrated a milestone with the presentation of Toledo Community Foundation scholarships to the inaugural class of GEAR UP students—those who have been with the program since junior high school and graduated from Waite High School in June. The awards were given at a July 31 recognition ceremony at Waite.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a partnership of BGSU, the University of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

BGSU faculty and students have worked with East Toledo junior high and high school students, their parents and community organizations since 2000 to increase the number of at-risk students going to college. GEAR UP is based on three components: school restructuring, professional development of staff and direct services to students and families.

Dr. William Armaline and fellow education faculty member Dr. Kathleen Farber are co-directors of the program at BGSU. Other participants are Chris MacDonald, assistant director; Drs. Nancy Patterson and John Fischer, teaching and learning; Dr. Arthur Samel, geography; Amanda Vrooman, office manager, and Beth Watters, who handles the budget and accounting.

“Kathy and I are especially happy to see the first GEAR UP class graduate and prepare to begin their college experience,” Armaline said. “That is really the purpose of the project—to increase the number of students graduating from high school prepared to attend some form of post-secondary education.

“We are proud to have worked with the staffs at East Toledo Junior High and Waite High School and the East Toledo community over the past six years, and we look forward to
greater achievements with them in the future.”

Of the Waite GEAR UP contingent coming to BGSU this fall, four students received $895 Toledo Community Foundation scholarships. They are Kristin Brown, Holly Gross, Alysia Martin and Joel Newton. In addition, all the GEAR UP students will receive substantial financial aid from BGSU.

Since GEAR UP’s inception, a new group of seventh-graders has been added to the program each year, funded by a federal grant of about $6.2 million to BGSU in conjunction with the schools, parents, community agencies and businesses. That grant was part of a larger award of roughly $19.2 million to the Midwest Educational Reform Consortium, which, in addition to BGSU, included Western Michigan University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

In 2005, a new federal grant gave Bowling Green another $4 million-plus over six years, starting with that year’s sixth- and seventh-graders on Toledo’s east side. The grant is aiding with the transition to middle schools for grades 6-8, Armaline said.

August 7, 2006