RICHLAND – Educators and students will talk about how the GEAR UP program is making a difference in the lives of children throughout the region at a National GEAR UP Day reception at WSU Tri-Cities on Friday, Sept. 18.
 
The event begins at 11:30 a.m. in the West Building Atrium, 2710 University Drive. The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs program is part of the WSU Tri-Cities early outreach department. Its mission is to help middle school students receive ongoing guidance and assistance to prepare for and pursue a college education.
 
Director Genoveva Morales-Ledesma leads a staff of about 150, including a small administrative team on the WSU Tri-Cities campus that supports site directors and tutors based in 16 school districts throughout the Mid-Columbia. In fall 2008, GEAR UP received two six-year competitive grants totaling $23 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its efforts in the Clarkston, College Place, Columbia, Dayton, Endicott-St. John, Ephrata, Finley, Kiona-Benton City, Moses Lake, North Franklin, Pasco, Paterson, Prescott, Soap Lake, Touchet and Walla Walla School Districts.
 
Speakers at Friday’s event include:
• Superintendent Rich Carter from the Walla Walla School District and representative of the Harvest of Hope Partner board.
• Superintendent Tim Payne from the College Place School District
• Becky Wilson, a GEAR UP program specialist based in the Kiona-Benton City School District.
•  Students Ramses Valdovinos of Columbia High School in Burbank, and Isabel and Pablo DeLacruz from Kiona-Benton City schools will share personal success stories.
 
For more details, call 509-372-7298 or visit www.earlyoutreach.wsu.edu/flame.
 
WSU Tri-Cities is located along the Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Established in 1989 with upper division and graduate programs, WSU Tri-Cities offers 17 baccalaureate, 13 master’s and six doctoral degree programs.