Wirt ‘GEAR UP’ students recognized

CHARLESTON – Six students from Wirt County were honored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Mazie Elliott, Hannah Ferrell, Sarah Jones, Madison Parker and Shelby Valentine were recognized for academic achievements and were among 200 G.E.A.R. U.P. students at the sixth annual Governor’s Honors Symposium held April 5 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

G.E.A.R. U.P. stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, a college preparation initiative providing services to students in 10 West Virginia counties. The symposium highlighted the accomplishments of 12th-grade students, many of whom have participated in G.E.A.R. U.P. since the seventh grade.

“West Virginia G.E.A.R. U.P. is one of the commission’s most unique and innovative efforts,” Paul Hill, chancellor of the commission, said.

Counselors begin working with students in middle school and continue to guide them, step-by-step over the course of six years to find a path that will lead to career success and self-fulfillment,. he said.

“That path is different for every student. Some may choose to pursue a trade certificate program; others may choose a two-year or a four-year degree,” Hill said. “Helping these students discover their way and work toward their goals is a truly inspiring experience for our staff, and I believe this work will lead to great outcomes for our state.”