Posted: Apr 13, 2012 9:24 AM
Updated: May 22, 2012 9:22 AM
Joanna Acosta was once a middle school student who was shy and didn't think she could actually succeed.
She was also a GEAR UP student.
Acosta graduated from La Villa High in 2006 and today is a thriving science teacher. She says she loves her work and tells us GEAR UP is the reason she went to college.
"GEAR UP helped me in my college career by opening the doors to college. GEAR UP really taught us what it takes to go to college what we needed to have and its just opened doors of opportunities," she says.
Joanna comes from a small town and she didn't realize what was out there until GEAR UP came along.
"Being from a small town you think you know that you cannot do things that you might not be capable of reaching so many goals, but GEAR UP it was just a push. It pushed you to see. You know there is so much, there is so much the world has to offer and there is so much you can do."
GEAR UP took Joanna places. Joanna says there is one specific time when she realized she didn't have to be that shy meek student ever again.
"I have to be specific and mention this one activity, a youth leadership conference that I attended in high school and I have to say that that really helped me become more assertive and helped the leader come out of me and learning how to speak in front of people and not to be shy and not to be afraid to voice your opinion, I think that's what I got form GEAR UP. I am not afraid to voice for what I believe and to stand up for what I believe and so I am very proud to say that GEAR UP helped me get that."