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Spring 2019 Newsletter

In This Issue

In This Issue


Meet Mr. Buluma, A GEAR UP Alumnus

Mr. Byadunia BulumaByadunia Buluma graduated from Charlottesville High School in 2012. He was part of the 2006-2012 GUV Cohort which included 36 high schools and 3,873 students total.  It was during a CHS GEAR UP tour of Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) that we ran into Mr. Buluma.  He took some time to remind all of us what our hard work means to students.

Mr. Buluma graduated from PVCC and now works at PVCC's First Quadrant Math Center.  His face lit up when he heard the words GEAR UP. “I was in GEAR UP! I signed up for it in seventh grade.” He remembered his GEAR UP Coordinator, Mrs. Lois Burke, staying after school to help him with math and with his college applications during senior year. “She even wrote a letter to Longwood, her alma mater, for me.”  Lois Burke continues to serve as a GEAR UP Data Coordinator at CHS, and the admiration is mutual with her describing him as "one of the hardest working students I've ever taught.”

Mr. Buluma’s GUV experience is similar to many current students. He enthusiastically talked about his summer camp experiences. He described visiting colleges with the GUV team. "Mr. Rich wanted me to go to ODU, but it was too far," he explained as he thought back on the struggles of choosing a college.  (At the time, Mr. Reshaud Rich was CHS’s College Adviser.  He is now GEAR UP Virginia's Southeastern Regional Manager!) Through the process, the GEAR UP team was there to support him. He was accepted to Longwood and was excited to go until moving day came. “I couldn’t stay. At the time, I was helping to support my family, and I didn’t want to leave them.” Mr. Buluma is a refugee and an active member of a Swahili church group.  He made the choice to go to PVCC to be close to his community. He paid for college with a GEAR UP scholarship and was able to work to continue helping his family. 

After graduating from PVCC, he started a job in their IT depart and as a coordinator for their Math Tutoring Center. He works four days a week and keeps his weekends free to help with translations and bible studies. When asked what advice he would give to our current eleventh graders, he replied, "I would tell students that the GEAR UP Coordinators are your friends. They will help you!" Tutoring and mentoring still play a large role in his life, except rather than receiving these services as a GEAR UP student, he is now guiding the next generation.

GUV School Team Kudos

Each GEAR UP Virginia school division is unique in their programming and administration. In this newsletter, we want to highlight an effort that makes each division stand out.

A special bonus congratulations to all GUV schools for the teamwork required to turn in 100% of the Summative Narrative Reports on time! 

GEAR UP Virginia in the News

College Advising Corp expands by a third through a new partnership
UVA Today- September 6, 2018

Covington High School students gearing up for college
WBDJ 7- September 28, 2018 

State secretary of education visits Harrisonburg High School
WHSV 3 September 26, 2018

Did you know?

Many colleges, "in an effort to sort through a growing number of applications, are quietly tracking prospective students’ online interaction with the schools," Some universities "are tracking how quickly prospective students open email and whether they click links." Find out more details in The Wall Street Journal’s article Colleges Mine Data on Their Applicants.

Why it matters: "Many students have no idea they are being tracked, or to what extent."  Encourage students to check and open messages to send a positive message to prospective colleges.

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North Central Region
King & Queen Students at CNU
GEAR UP students from King & Queen Central High School visited the campus of Christopher Newport University (CNU) on November 2, 2018. Over thirty students, including 18 GEAR UP students, toured academic buildings and dorms. They also enjoyed lunch in CNU's dining hall.

Southeastern Region
Students at Warick High SchoolWarwick High School of Newport News, Virginia celebrated day three of their five day GEAR UP Week celebration with a GEAR UP Teacher Appreciation Day. Students delivered healthy snacks to teachers and educated them about GEAR UP. Additionally, one of the GEAR UP students spoke to families about GEAR UP during Back to School Night. This event highlighted student engagement and leadership within their school.

Western Region
Student Alumni PanelDuring a GUV Randolph-Henry High School event, an alumni panel spoke about a variety of college experiences, including a gap year, transfer, internships, early graduation, change of major, and acceptance to graduate school.  The panel highlighted the importance of choosing the college that is the best fit and considering values over social pressures.  Alumni represented Virginia Tech, Liberty University, University of Lynchburg, Longwood, and Appalachian State University.


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The Connected Counselor 
How do you promote your school counseling program?  Use your school website to give students and parents access college and career information 24/7. Join this interactive session for tips and tools to enhance your online presence with state-of-the-art, engaging College Board resources. The webinar is on April 9th at 1:00 pm.

GradNation Webinar on Re-engagement
Check out GradNation’s most recent webinar on re-engagement, Achieving a 90 percent Graduation Rate: A Path Back to High School for Boston Youth. It features the National League of Cities, the Boston Re-Engagement Center and young people served by the Boston Re-Engagement Center. The webinar explores the current re-engagement landscape, barriers youth face in returning to education and strategies for re-engaging youth.


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ACT Test and Registration Dates
June 8 (Registration: May 3); July 13 (Registration: June 14)

Career and College Clubs 
Career & College Clubs is a research-based, career and college readiness program for grades 7 – 12, developed by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) 

Let’s Talk About College: Resource Chart 
National College Access Network’s resource chart of useful tools and resources for college-access professionals who guide students in 9th through 12th grade.

The Coalition is a diverse group of more than 140 distinguished colleges and universities that is committed to making college a reality for all high school students through our set of free online college planning tools that helps students learn about, prepare for, and apply to college. 

SAT Test and Registration Dates
May 4 (Registration: April 5); June 1 (Registration: May 3)

Teachers Pay Teachers 
This is an educational marketplace with 3 million resources created by educators for educators. Resources include: units, activities, worksheets, printable, video,and curriculum.


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Cargill Foundation Grants
The Cargill Foundation supports programs that are rigorous, curriculum-driven and embedded in other areas of learning at the school or district levels in the areas of STEM and College and Career Readiness. Due date: May 10. 

Dominion Environmental Education and Stewardship Grants
The Dominion Foundation considers grant requests  from K-12 for up to $5,000. The proposed projects should support one or more of the following priorities: educating K-12 students and the public about environmental stewardship; protecting and preserving natural habitats; and improving open spaces and making nature accessible. Amount: Up to $5,000. Due Date: Varies.

EJK Mini-Grants 
Established by children's book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, the foundation is accepting applications from public schools, public preschools, and public libraries for mini-grants of up to $500. The program funds innovative programs that foster creative expression, working together, and interaction with a diverse community in education or that support the Common Core State Standards within the curriculum. Programs may serve children from preschool through grade 12. Due Date: March 31. Amount: Up to $500.

Voya Unsung Heroes
Each year educators submit applications for a Voya Unsung Heroes grant by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its innovative method, creativity and ability to positively influence students. Due date: April 30. Amount: $2,000 - $25,000.


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Armenian Education Center of Virginia 
Each year the Armenian Education Center awards a scholarship to the winner of their essay contest. These essay questions help students to generate awareness and build a general understanding of the Armenian Genocide.  This scholarship is available to 9-12 grade students. Deadline: April 17, 2019. Amount: $1,000.

B. Davis Scholarship
This scholarship is available to all high school juniors and seniors as well as all students currently registered in any post-secondary institution. Deadline: May 29,2019.  Amount: $1,000.

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
This scholarship aids people active in movements for social and economic justice. These need-based scholarships are awarded to students who are able to do academic work at the college or university level or are enrolled in a trade or technical program. Deadline: April 1, 2019. Amount: $15,000.

Marocchi Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship provides two awards of $2,500 each given to two graduating seniors from Virginia high schools. Deadline: April 14, 2019. Amount: $2,500.

Noble Scholarship Award
This is a one-time award offered to a graduating high school senior who is committed to a career in law enforcement or criminal justice. Deadline: April 15, 2019. Amount:  $1,000- $2,500.

Signet Essay Contest
Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest is a national contest in which 5 high school juniors or seniors can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a Signet Classics library for their school. Deadline: April 1, 2019. Amount: $1,000.

Virginia ESL Scholarship
This scholarship is for current high school seniors from Virginia with 3.0+ GPA who were enrolled in an ESL program for at least one year in grades 6-12.  Deadline: April 5, 2019. Amount: Varies.

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GEAR UP VA Divisions and Partners

Important Dates

May 2: Reimbursement and Match Due for Western Region

May 16:
Reimbursement and Match Due for North Central and Southeastern Region

June 1: Final Budget Modification due for 2018-2019

July 13: Reimbursement and Match Due for ALL regions

July 15-18: NCCEP Annual Conference in San Francisco, California
August 15: 2018-2019 Final Implementation Plans Due

Staff Contact

Erin McGrath
GUV Senior Coordinator

Tierney Jackson
GUV Scholarship Administrator 

Felix Sam
Gear Up Scholarship Asst.

Stacey Garnett
GUV Fiscal and Administrative Specialist

Amy Wiggington
GUV Data Specialist 

Linda Staylor
Regional Manager- West

Melissa Benavidez
Regional Manager- North Central

Reshaud Rich
Regional Manager- Southeast

Paula Robinson
Assistant Director, College Access and PK-12 Outreach

SCHEV values honesty, quality, diversity, inclusion, growth-orientation, personal well-being, equity, transparency and accountability.
Through these values, we create a welcoming work environment that represents the best of who we are as an agency and as individuals.

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