May 24, 2002

High School GEAR UP Program to Recognize Freshmen

San Marcos — The Palomar College GEAR UP Partnership program at San Marcos High School (SMHS) will honor students in a special assembly for 9th graders. An innovator in helping more students to succeed in school, the GEAR UP program seeks to find unique ways to motivate all students toward greater future achievement. The freshmen only assembly will be held on Thursday, May 23rd, at 1:30 pm in the SMHS gymnasium. Parents of the students are invited to attend.

“The freshmen recognition assembly was an idea of some SMHS teachers and GEAR UP staff,” said Calvin One Deer Gavin, Director, GEAR UP program. The teachers and staff wanted to provide a forum where the 800+9th graders can be together to witness the greatness among their peers. With SMHS having a population of almost 3,000 students and staff, it can be an overwhelming place each day for young freshmen students. One of the goals of GEAR UP is to create smaller learning communities, by grade level, and the idea of the recognition ceremony does just that, at least for one day.

The objective is to provide awards, ribbons, and certificates to students for academic, leadership, athletic, artistic, and personal achievement and improvement. “The purpose is twofold; one is to give honor to select students, in the presence of their peers, and the other is for all students to know that they too can receive such honor,” said Gavin. The first ever event will become a new annual tradition, and will happen next year for the freshmen and the sophomore classes. “By giving recognition early and often, we are showing students that achievements brings honor and that such recognition is an option for all,” said Gavin.

While more than 200 students will be honored, in various categories, the culminating awards will be the SMHS GEAR UP female and male freshmen of the year, chosen through nominations by the 9th grade teachers. The assembly will also allow the GEAR UP program, a federal grant, to provide a 21st Century Scholar certificate from the United States Department of Education to each freshmen, for successful participation in the GEAR UP program for 9th grade. The certificates are signed by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Mr. Rod Paige.

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