Reggy Yount, recent graduate of Hobart High School, and Victor Martinez, recent graduate of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, are recipients of national 2006 GEAR UP College Entrance Exam Scholarships. Peterson’s, a leading provider of education and career guidance, in collaboration with the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), presented Yount and Martinez with scholarships of up to $2,500 for demonstrating the greatest improvement in their performance on official college entrance exams.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Its purpose is to better prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional development activities for educators, and college access information for students and parents. Martinez improved his score by five points from his sophomore to senior year.
“We are extremely proud of these young men and all the other Oklahoma students who have committed themselves to ‘doing what it takes’ to prepare for college,” said Interim Chancellor Phil Moss. “Their efforts are making a difference toward our ultimate goal of helping more students go to college.”
Yount credits his most recent ACT score to improved reading skills, which are a result of difficult and challenging classes encouraged and supported by GEAR UP.
"GEAR UP is an excellent program that provides motivation and opportunities to students and allows them to thrive,” Yount said. “Although it took enormous effort to complete the process, the reward was well worth all the hard work.”
Martinez has been able to participate in and benefit from the combined efforts of the state GEAR UP program as well as the GEAR UP partnership program at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
“I believe GEAR UP is effective for students like me who are from a minority because it introduces them to the university atmosphere and helps them become aware that they too can be successful in college,” Martinez said.
Yount and Martinez, two of six national recipients, were presented the scholarships at the NCCEP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
Peterson’s and NCCEP established the scholarship program to offer GEAR UP students financial assistance as they pursue their college studies. According to Mary Gatsch, president of Peterson’s, the scholarship recognition program aims to support those deserving students and provide inspiration to others who are actively participating in GEAR UP programs all over the country.
"We are fortunate to have financial backing from Peterson’s to help deserving students like Reggy and Victor pursue their dreams,” State Regents’ Chairman John Massey said. “The scholarship program is just another example of the business community and higher education working together for the betterment of our students and their futures.”
Yount is attending Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and majoring in education. With his degree, he hopes to become a history teacher and coach and eventually an administrator. Martinez is attending the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and majoring in chemistry and pre-medicine.
For more information on GEAR UP, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup or call 800.858.1840.
The National Council for Community and Education partnerships (NCCEP) serves as the national technical assistance provider, annual conference convener and voice in Washington, D.C., for the GEAR UP program. NCCEP, a non-profit organization committed to creating and sustaining K-16 education partnerships, works to increase academic achievement and access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students. By building broad-based partnerships, linking schools and communities, developing new initiatives, supporting proven programs, and using research findings to create successful frameworks for action, NCCEP aims to invigorate the principle of equal educational opportunity for all, and to help improve K-16 education in the United States. One of the primary objectives of NCCEP is to promote students’ academic achievement and encourage systems change to improve college access in schools, districts, colleges, universities and communities.
Peterson’s is a leading provider of live, online and print educational solutions for students, families, schools and educators in the areas of test preparation, admissions, financial aid and career guidance. Its Web site offers searchable databases and interactive tools for contacting educational institutions, online practice tests and instruction, and planning tools for securing financial aid.