Twenty-three students, chaperones, and GEAR UP team members recently attended the 2023 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. The group spent four days touring UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco, as well as historical sites in and around San Francisco, CA.
As the conference activities began, the six students—Madilyn Lovell, Spiro; Dakota Logan, Rattan; Rodrigo Sanchez, Howe; Rene Hurtado, McAlester; Deiondra Howard, Coalgate; and Weldon Harrison, Canadian—attended the first session of the Youth Leadership Summit (YLS), chaperones—Kasandra Lovell; Merle Logan; Diego Sanchez; Sayna Romo; Brooke Howard; and Dustin Wadsworth—attended a “Chaperone Orientation.”
The opening session of the conference began with NCCEP President and CEO Alex Chough welcoming more than 3,000 GEAR UP professionals from around the nation.
Following the opening session, the six student members returned to the YLS, a program providing a high–quality, national-level interactive training experience and peer–to–peer learning opportunity for 9th–12th-grade high school students who are currently participating in GEAR UP programs.
Chaperones for the YLS students attended the Parent Leadership Institute (PLI). The PLI was designed to cultivate a group of parents and family leaders with a greater capacity to promote positive change in their children, school and community, and to move forward an agenda that centers on making college possible for all students.
The highlight of the conference was the presentation by the NCCEP Youth Leadership Summit participants. Tears and laughter filled the room as students talked about how GEAR UP has affected their lives.
Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017 and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.