Gear up is a federally funded program that has been going on for the past five years in DMPS. The advisers at Hoover High School are Billy Kirby and Marquesa Snyder and they have been working with the class of 2012 since then. This year, when DMPS reapplied for a grant, it was denied.
Not having as much staff in the building that will be able to help you with college plans will be a major set-back. Kirby says he thinks the meets of students will be met, but it will be a little more challenging because teachers, administrators, and counselors already have so much going on.
Snyder also believes that the needs will be met, there just won’t be as many adult options for students to go to right away.
Another big factor with losing Gear Up is not only are the students losing college access professionals, but also someone that is there for them emotionally, like a friend. “They give extra help when the school can’t, and when we’re going through rough times. They helped me pass math and they were there for me after my mom passed away,” Kahdejia Love said.
“I’ve laughed with students and I’ve cried with students, help them when they are having a hard time passing a class for whatever reason, so after going through that we end up forming a bond,” Kirby said.
The Gear Up advisers help students out in many ways, but they say the students help them out too. “I feel a sense of accomplishment within the students’ success. When they accomplish something, I feel like I have too. I’m so proud of the class of 2012 and I can’t wait to see you guys walk across the stage because that makes it all worth it,” Snyder said. For Kirby on the other hand, it’s all about the energy the students give off.
“This is an exciting time in life. I get a kick out of working with the students because teens are so full of drama. There will also be friendships I’ll have with some of the students forever, and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for them in the future. They definitely keep me on my toes,” Kirby said.
Graduation rates have also went up since Gear up has been working with students. When statistics were taken at the beginning of the school year 82 percent of students at Hoover in the class of 2012 were on track to graduate. District wide 72 percent are on track to graduate, which is a 3 percent increase from last year. “I believe that we’ve had a positive affect on the graduation, I won’t take full responsibility, but we’re definitely a contributing factor for the seniors this year,” said Snyder.
Gear up is going to try applying for another grant in spring for 2013. “It probably won’t happen. The government is picky on who they can choose because 20 million dollars was cut from their budget,” said Kirby. Neither of the Gear Up advisers know of any new plans or people that might be hired to replace them.