“Gear Up Alabama” program at Banks School
Pike County Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough was the featured speaker for the
“Gear Up Alabama” program at Banks School Thursday. The Gear Up program is a discretionary grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
Scarbrough drew on her life experiences to impress upon the Banks seventh- and eighth-grade students the importance of staying in school and then continuing their education in order to give them best opportunities for success in the workplace. College is always an option for a successful career but not everyone is going to college, Scarbrough told the students.
“Trade schools and technical schools are options for those who are interested in those related fields,” she said. “And, some student graduate high school and go right into the workforce. No matter what career path you choose, you can be successful if you have a good work ethic and a good attitude. If you are willing to work hard, you will be successful.”
LaToya Gay, the Gear Up coordinator, for Banks School, said the Gear Up program is designed to motivate students to be successful.
“The students are inspired by the personal stories that our guest speakers share,” Gay said. “The students were very impressed by Mrs. Scarbrough because she shared with them the obstacles that she has overcome to get where she is today. Although she does not have a college degree, she was elected Pike County’s circuit clerk because she has a strong work ethic and is motivated to do the best job she can every day.” Gay said when students heard that it is possible to be elected to public offices on the merit of one’s work ethic and past performance, they are encouraged.
“The students who complete all fours years of the Gear Up program will be able to attend any two-year college or trade school in Alabama at no cost,” she said. “That is a tremendous cost savings to their parents and, for some students, that makes it possible to go to college when they would not have been able to go otherwise.”
And added bonus for the parents of students who complete the Gear Up program is that they, too, may attend a two-year college or trade school at no cost.
“This is an added incentive for students to stay in school and an opportunity for their parents to further their education,” Gay said.
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