GEAR UP Student Making Her Mark in Fashion

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MCALLEN — A GEAR UP student is making a mark in her community and taking a step into the fashion world.

Hailey Palacios is a senior at McAllen High, a GEAR UP student and a cheerleader. She said she loves fashion, and she’s the go-to girl when it comes to uniform decisions.

“Whenever we have a fashion decision we have to make in cheer, I call her,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, cheerleading coach at McAllen High. “I am so excited for her and so happy for her, and (she) couldn't be a nicer, more wonderful person for something great to happen to.”

Palacios won $2,000 and free rent at to start her own fashion collection. She said GEAR UP guided her in the right direction. That’s when she realized fashion was in her blood.

“They kind of mentored me as to what I want to do in the future, where I want to go to school,” Palacios said. “I came across fashion merchandising and I thought it was really interesting. My aunt has been a retail buyer, and, so, ever since I was little, I’ve been stuck on that.”

Norma McCormick, a Region One education specialist, said it’s good to see GEAR UP students, like Palacios, realize their dreams.

“I love Haley’s fashion style. She's beautiful on the outside and on the inside, and you can tell she's very motivated,” McCormick said. “We're very excited to see people like Haley, young entrepreneurs who think outside the box and look at opportunities for themselves. They have that confidence and they are able to say, ‘You know what, I want to compete here. I want to try it out.’”

Ashley Vasquez, Palacios’s mentor in the fashion world, said Palacios is a little ball of spunk.

“She has a mind of her own already, and GEAR UP has already molded her into a very bright and positive girl,” Vasquez said.

“She is looking at a career, looking at college, in fashion merchandising and connecting that now, and that is so important,” McCormick said.