GEAR UP Summer Honors Program begins at BHSU

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, June 13, 2016/Categories: 2016

Nearly 100 high school students from throughout South Dakota are attending the GEAR UP Summer Honors Program at Black Hills State University beginning this month.

The SD GEAR UP Summer Honors Program (Summer Program) is a three-week, residential, pre-college enrichment program designed for students to increase the likelihood that they will enroll and succeed in higher education.

Dr. June Apaza, co-director of SD GEAR UP, says the Summer Program provides an enriching, pre-college experience that helps students learn the academic and social behaviors necessary for college success.

"We are looking forward to providing a safe, fun and enriching learning experience for all of our GEAR UP students this summer. The BHSU GEAR UP team expects that we will learn as much as anyone this summer. Let the learning begin!" said Apaza

Activities throughout the three weeks include academic coursework with high expectations for performance, mentorship to assist students in developing an academic mindset, and cultural activities to promote a healthy lifestyle in connection with students' heritage.

The Summer Honors Program is a modified version of a residential pre-college enrichment summer program held in South Dakota since 1992. The format of the Summer Program builds upon each successive year where students add more knowledge and experiences that will guide them to success in college.

Dr. Urla Marcus, co-director of SD GEAR UP, says school and family support is vital to students' success in college.

"Research shows that family support is the biggest factor in whether or not a child goes to college. We know our GEAR UP families and communities believe in the ability of their students to succeed," said Marcus. "We want our students to be successful in their college and career goals, and that can be achieved through the support of families, educators, community members, and programs like GEAR UP."  

Students will spend the third week of the summer program at Placerville Camp, an off-campus site located six miles from Pactola Lake in the Black Hills. Students will participate in enriching, educational activities at Placerville including a focus on the history, geography, and ecosystem of the Black Hills.  

A Closing Ceremony will be held Friday, July 1 at 11 a.m. in the Donald E. Young Center Field House.

The SD GEAR UP Program at BHSU is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to the South Dakota Department of Education. The goal of the SD GEAR UP Program is to increase the number of students prepared to graduate from college. SD GEAR UP seeks to accomplish this goal by collaborating with middle and high schools throughout the state including many schools on American Indian Reservations in South Dakota. A specific focus of SD GEAR UP is to increase the number of American Indian students that achieve success at the post-secondary level.

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