Stanfield seniors celebrate their college acceptances.
Stanfield Secondary School, Stanfield, Oregon
[One of the most effective and inspiring initiatives is] the opportunity for students to step onto college campuses and get a hands-on feel for what will be the best fit for them and their future. GEAR UP has made it possible to take students on college field trips multiple times each year, and those opportunities have been impactful in showing our students that college is possible and showing our students what college is going to be the best in ensuring they succeed.
Because of GEAR UP, we now have many Stanfield students attending college at a variety of campuses and are able to visit them and hear about their experiences when we step onto college campuses, which is inspiring and makes an impact on the high school students and shows them that college is indeed possible.
Students tour local businesses to learn about careers in their region and the education needed.
When I started at Stanfield, we were in the first years of our initial GEAR UP grant, and the college-going culture was in the beginning stages. In the years since, I have seen that college-going culture grow immensely, in the halls of our school, in the activities we have implemented as a regular part of our school year, in the conversations of students, teachers, and families. The percentage of students going on to college or a postsecondary program has grown significantly.
Because of GEAR UP, more Stanfield students see that the sky truly is the limit and they CAN do things they did not originally think possible. In the process, they inspire other students to make their dreams a plan!
We went from offering dual credit opportunities in only a handful of classes (our CTE classes: business and agriculture) to adding Math 111, U.S. History, Advanced Biology, Chemistry, and implementing a sizable budget for students to take an array of college courses at our local community college. In recent years, aided by GEAR UP, we have developed an Honors Diploma option and clear pathway to receive an AAOT while in high school.
There are many success stories I could share, but one is of a brother-sister duo. The sister is the oldest and first in the family to attend college. GEAR UP made it possible for her to visit the University of Oregon as part of one of our college trips, and she ended up being our first (of several) Stanfield students to be a recipient of Pathway Oregon. Because touring UO was so impactful for her, she gave back by serving as a Student Ambassador at UO (and got to give a tour to a group of Stanfield students one year), and is now graduated, the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Fast forward a couple of years and her younger brother, inspired by what his sister showed was possible and also impacted by the opportunity to take a college trip to UO, enrolled at UO and has been a Pathway recipient. He has since become a Student Ambassador (and also got to give a tour to a group of Stanfield students!) and will be graduating this spring.
The support of the GEAR UP Central Office over the years, the opportunity for my colleagues and me to collaborate and implement college-going activities through SUCCESS Retreats, and seeing and hearing the success stories of Stanfield students that rewards the work and passes the torch to the next group of students coming up. Thank you GEAR UP!
Information and photos provided by GEAR UP coordinator and counselor Kirsten Wright.