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Friday, March 23, 2012

HOLMES SELECTED FOR COLLEGE READINESS PROGRAM

by Michael Monks 
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THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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Representatives from GEAR UP Kentucky were in the office of Holmes Middle School principal Sean Bohannan when they got the call the state program had been awarded a $26.9 million federal grant to boost its college readiness work. For that reason, GEAR UP chose Holmes as the location to announce the twenty-nine schools across Kentucky selected to participate, including Covington's only public middle school. "We want you to be part of our first class of Kentucky students to graduate in 2021 with a four-year college degree," said Yvonne Lovell, executive director of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) to hundreds of 7th grade students from Holmes, Newport, and Bellevue. 
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The grant allows GEAR UP to continue its efforts to follow 7th grade students throughout their time in high school as they prepare to attend college. "Getting there from 7th grade seems like a long way to college and even longer to 2021 but I can tell you, these years go by faster than you could ever believe," said Bob King, President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. "You need to do everything you can to fulfill your expectations of going to college." 
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Holmes is particularly challenged in the area of college readiness and Kentucky as a whole struggles with forty percent of its high school graduates needing to take remedial courses in math and other subject areas when they get to college. "We want this class to be the first in Kentucky to go to college without having to take make-up courses," King said. "We want you to be the most successful class in the history of GEAR UP." 
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While hundreds of students listened in the auditorium at Holmes High School, thousands more from the other twenty-six schools selected to participate watched the Covington event live through an online webcast. "GEAR UP has been very influential in my life," said Isis Solomon, a graduate of Newport High School who is now a freshman at Northern Kentucky University. Solomon shared her experience of being able to travel the state to visit colleges because of GEAR UP. "It really does help when choosing a college to have these experiences in your senior year." 
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GEAR UP's focus is on low-income schools and NKU President Dr. James Votruba touched on that at Friday's event. "There will be times when you wonder if you are ready to go to college," he said. "Life can control you or you can control your life. My hope is that all of you will stretch and reach for everything you want out of life. When you look in the mirror every morning see someone who can achievve, somebody who can accomplish in life what you think is important."
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Following the event at Holmes, the students from that school as well as Newport and Bellevue headed out for a visit to NKU. "Y'all are absolutely gonna love college," Solomon continued. In addition to GEAR UP's assistance, the NKU freshman also offered some advice of her own. "Make friends with people who have the same goals as you because they will help keep you on task."  
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PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT: 
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MORE PHOTOS BELOW, JUST CLICK THE LINK!
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