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Hermiston High School is a GEAR UP success story. They were part of the first cohort of GEAR UP schools from 2002-2008 and leveraged the program's resources to create hands-on, real world learning and build a supportive college-going culture.
A group of educators from current GEAR UP schools got an inside look at their successes as part of a tour of the school, hearing from students and staff on the programs and opportunities available.
Hermiston offers a variety of programs of study that help students explore and prepare for postsecondary education and careers, including accounting, marketing, hospitality, business administration, engineering, construction, computer science, media arts, agriculture, and education.
Students apply their knowledge by participating in one of the many student-run ventures, including a coffee shop, print business, student store, new home construction, and more. An initial investment by GEAR UP has grown Hermiston's business programs, while providing a steady funding source for college preparation activities, like college visits.
"[I learned that] having students run businesses empowers kids," said one attendee.
GEAR UP also assisted Hermiston High School in creating a culture that celebrates postsecondary education. Current students send care packages to alumni now in college with treats and notes of encouragement. Posters line the halls with the faces of college graduates.
"Since GEAR UP, there’re a lot more resources for students to access, more opportunities,” said Liz Marvin, the Project College Bound coordinator at Hermiston High School. “We haven’t always been where we are now. We still see things that we can do and improve.”