Posted: Apr 27, 2012 3:40 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2012 12:44 PM
Some former GEAR UP students are paying it forward in Valley classrooms. Mario Garcia was part of the first ever batch of GEAR UP students.
He now teaches math at La Grulla Middle School.
He says GEAR UP was just what he needed.
GEAR UP stands for gaining early awareness readiness program...and Mario says early awareness is what got him hooked on college.
"GEAR UP has helped me in many ways. One of the ways it has helped me is by mentoring me, gaining early awareness of all of the schools that are out there, applications, taking rigorous courses, also preparing me for those exams that need to be taken before you get in to college which is your THEA, your SAT and GEAR UP helped me in gaining that early awareness."
Mario says his GEAR UP facilitator back in 2000, Melissa Lopez, who now works for GEAR UP region one says she made all the difference.
"My GEAR UP facilitator was Ms. Melissa Lopez. She did help me tremendously. Sshe was always there for me when I needed and when I had a question about college or an application, she was always there for me."
Mario has some advice for all of today's students.
"For the current GEAR UP students, I adviSe that you guys take your advice from your GEAR UP facilitator. He or she knows what they are talking about. They have been trained for this. They are great people and they are there to help you."
Right now, Mario is getting his masters in education leadership. He should be done by this December and his advice is very important but very simple: just stay in school.