Pike County students ‘gear up’ for graduation
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Ninth-grade students at Pike County and Goshen high schools and eighth graders at Banks Middle School are getting “Geared-Up” for graduation.
All week, the students will be participating in Gear Up Alabama Kickoff Week activities that will get them excited about going to college.
Palma Stringer, Gear Up Alabama facilitator for Pike County Schools, said the program is designed for students in the Black Belt section of Alabama in an effort to motivate them to stay in school with graduation as their goals.
“Gear Up Alabama is a program that will, hopefully, excite students about their futures and encourage them to stay in school and graduate,” Stringer said. “The program is geared toward increasing the number of students that are ready to be successful in their education and training after high school graduation, whether it’s college or entering the workforce.”
On Monday, students at Pike County High School had the cap and gown experience four years early.
“We wanted the students to have the opportunity to put on a cap and gown and actually walk out on stage and receive a ‘diploma,’” Stringer said adding, hopefully, the experience would only be a dress rehearsal for the real event in 2020.
The ninth-grade students at Pike County High School packed the auditorium in anticipation of “early” graduation. Each student had the opportunity to don a cap and gown and walk on stage and receive a “diploma.”
“Hopefully, this will be encouragement for the students to stay in school and, one day, walk across the stage and receive diploma that will open doors to their futures,” Stringer said.
Ninth-grader Autumn Bassett said, although the students were joking around and having fun, they are really serious about their educations.
“We know how important education is and we all want to do this again in 2020,” she said. “My goal is to be a veterinarian. That’s a long way off but I have to begin preparing now if I want to reach my goal.”
Today will be “Teachers Tell Their Story Tuesday” at Goshen. The teachers will share their educational journeys with the students, including the challenges they faced in choosing a career.
Other activities for the week include designing posters that relate to “Gear UP,” wearing favorite college T-shirts and ice cream sandwich rewards for participation.
But Stringer said the real rewards will come when Gear Up students have their diplomas in hand and walk from the stage prepared to succeed along whatever career path they pursue.
Gear Up Alabama is a UAB project that focuses on serving students in the Black Belt Region of the state. The project’s primary partners include the Alabama Department of Education, Auburn University and the Black Belt Community Foundation.
Gear Up Alabama spans across 18 counties in the Black Belt region, serving more than 9,000 students in 21 school districts. The project’s purpose is to help build the infrastructure of school districts in the Black Belt to effectively prepare students for post secondary education.