About the schools

Lorna Byrne Middle School and Illinois Valley High School, Cave Junction, Oregon

  • 474 students in grades 7-12
  • 91% free and reduced lunch
  • 20% students of color

Illinois Valley students at Western Oregon University

Illinois Valley students visit Western Oregon University.

GEAR UP highlights

  • Started National Junior Honor Society at middle school to emphasize academics
  • Organized, implemented and modeled best practices in Advisory and Student-Led Conferences
  • Extensive academic enrichment opportunities for students during weekends and summer
  • GEAR UP College Carnival
  • Created a College and Career Center at the high school
  • Pathfinders near-peer mentor program


Because of GEAR UP, multiple geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged students had high-quality academic enrichment opportunities during weekends and summer.

Illinois Valley students more aware of college options


The impact of GEAR UP

"She stood there wearing a beautiful smile of pride when I complimented her artwork, exhibited at the Schneider Museum of Art. This young lady was one of a group of students that was selected to attend the Young Artists’ Institute, a 10-day residential summer program held on the Southern Oregon University campus. This opportunity was made possible through our GEAR UP grant. Attending the Young Artists’ Institute was a life-changing experience for all of the students but I especially noticed the impact it had on this particular girl. She was pushed out of her comfort zone, resulting in tremendous personal growth.  Thanks to GEAR UP's support this student was able to discover her own unique artistic voice, which dramatically increased her self-confidence and sense of self."

Illinois Valley students at Southern Oregon University

Information and photos provided by GEAR UP coordinator Monet Talty.