GEAR UP Students Create Projects to Raise Autism Awareness

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MCALLEN — One group of McAllen High School GEAR UP students said a project centered around autism pushed them to make a difference.

The group of students participated in a GEAR UP project that not only creates autism awareness, but teaches teamwork at the same time.

“GEAR UP has helped me throughout the years since I started middle school. It’s helped me more with teamwork, work as a team, like, to accomplish things as a team,” said AnnaLee Molina, a McAllen High GEAR UP student.

The team of GEAR UP girls worked hard on their autism project. They said they hope to spread the word about the condition that affects more than 3.5 million Americans.

“I hope that our project helped others and spread awareness about autism,” said Cynthia Mata, a McAllen High GEAR UP student.

For some of these girls, the project hit really close to home.

“It meant so much, especially since I have a lot of cousins that have autism. And I just want more people to know about it and be sure to know what they're talking about,” said Kassandra Palomo, a McAllen High GEAR UP student.

“It is very important for us to know that it is very important to treat them equally. We do not know what they are passing through,” said Orfie Sepulveda, a McAllen High GEAR UP student. “It’s not fair that those kids get bullied, because people don't know what autism is.”

The group of girls took their job seriously. All of them plan on going into the medical field after high school.

“I wanted to be a pediatrician and now I’m changing it to a neonatologist, working with prematures, so it will help me a lot to understand, kind of, with the brain. How to work with kids that could probably be autistic as they grow up,” said Ashley Wals, a McAllen High GEAR UP student.

The girls said they want to be accomplished women in the field of medicine when they grow up.