Innovative high school program prepares students for future

GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness for Undergraduate Programs, is a program designed to provide Pahrump Valley High School sophomores and juniors with the skills to succeed in post-secondary education and career choices.

GEAR UP Coordinator Lisa Hamrick said the federally funded program allows all sophomores and juniors to participate by virtue of their grade level.

Hamrick noted that whether it’s a college education, a particular career or trade school, GEAR UP helps to prepare students for the path they choose as they enter a new chapter of their respective lives.

Both she and the school’s 11th grade counselor last week spoke to all 300 11th graders about the program.

“We help the graduating class of 2018 and 2019, who are currently sophomores and juniors, on their path through school to make sure they have enough credits to graduate and if they are taking the right classes for what they might want to follow through with after graduation.”

Hamrick noted the students have embraced GEAR UP due to the many opportunities the program presents.

One such program is the popular online “Career Cruising” website.

“Career Cruising is a program to create a portfolio for the students that will follow them throughout high school,” Hamrick said. “It’s a web-based career exploration and planning tool that students will use to explore career and college options that match their interests. The program has career inventories, interviews with people in specific careers and a glance at colleges that support those career choices as well as the financial commitments.”

Last month, Hamrick said students were treated to a college and career fair at the Beatty Community Center.

More than two dozen vendors set up tables to answer the students’ questions about their particular business.

Character building exercises were also part of the program.

“We organized it from Pahrump and most of the businesses who participated were from Pahrump but we had some from the outlying areas,” she said. “They provided the kids with great information. We had approximately 30 businesses for the 160 students from Beatty and Pahrump who participated. They took time out of their busy schedule and provided giveaways and other things for the kids. It was wonderful.”

Hamrick also spoke about an educational field trip into Las Vegas today.

Parents are routinely invited to participate as chaperones on many of the trips.

“We are taking 52 sophomores to UNLV for a campus tour and presentation, and GEAR UP is providing lunch at the campus’ vast dining hall,” she said. “We help them learn about scholarships, college applications, resumes and anything that goes along with what transpires after graduating from high school.”

All sophomores and juniors are eligible to participate in the GEAR UP program through their senior year so long as they maintain a 2.0 grade point average.

For more information on GEAR UP call Hamrick at 775-751-7737 ext. 2519.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at On Twitter: @pvtimes