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National GEAR UP Week

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Posted: Oct 19, 2012 1:15 PM

Updated: Oct 19, 2012 1:15 PM

Several kids gathered at Kennedy Middle School in Pharr to celebrate GEAR UP.

Tina Atkins, director of GEAR UP for Region One, kicked off the with event by telling these kids GEAR UP is their pathway to college.

A GEAR UP star then came up to the podium and the kids were wowed by Denise Martinez. She's a former GEAR UP student who is now studying biology and is a pre med minor at UTPA.

She told the kids not to be afraid, not to be ashamed of asking questions about how to get in to college. Denise talked about growing up in New Jersey and not having GEAR UP there until she arrived in the Valley.

"GEAR UP is a program that is dedicated to helping you out. I was an 8th grader in Thoms River New Jersey and we didn't have GEAR UP and GEAR UP is something that will help you get to college and it's really like your second family. That's really what the facilitators are here for, principals, and everybody you meet along the way are inspired and instructed to help to give you the tools in order to succeed."

Apart from a full time schedule at UTPA, she is also interning at Congressman Ruben Hinojosa's office.

It's Denise's positive attitude that will hopefully get these kids geared up for college. She hopes they give back once they graduate from college.

"Even though I already graduated and it's been two years since, I could be considered a GEAR UP student, I'm still part of the GEAR UP program. It's something that once you're part of it, you're still going to be a part of it even after you graduate from high school."

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