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GEAR UP Initiative Honors Academic Achievement of Underrepresented Wisconsin Students

Tuesday, May 23, 2023
38 Graduates of the WEOP GEAR UP Program wearing their caps and gowns
The inaugural class of GEAR UP students.

Thirty-eight students from across Wisconsin are officially the first graduating cohort of the GEAR UP Rising Phoenix Early College High School Program. GEAR UP is the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative.

The students worked in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to further their education and obtain college credits and their high school diploma. By August 2023, the students will have combined earned over 2,000 college credit hours. Among the 38 students taking part in a recognition ceremony, 23 will graduate with an associate’s degree from UW-Green Bay. Students in the GEAR UP Rising Phoenix cohort are from the Green Bay area, the Wausau area, the Milwaukee area, and Shawano.

“I am so proud of these students for growing not just as learners, but also as individuals,” State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. “Completing the GEAR UP program is a tribute to the tireless work they put in to achieve their goals, and I look forward to seeing and hearing where they go next and what their next successes are. I congratulate them for their impressive accomplishments.”

The Wisconsin DPI’s GEAR UP assists low-income, first-generation, and traditionally underrepresented students in gaining their high school diploma and preparing them for success in postsecondary education through college and career readiness programming. Through academic and career planning, tutoring, visits to colleges and cultural events and mentoring, GEAR UP helps increase academic performance and attendance among students, complete high school, and be prepared for possible postsecondary enrollment and career attainment. 

GEAR UP is a program provided by the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs, which prepare youth and adults to pursue higher educational opportunities by providing college and career readiness programs, resources, and support. Visit the WEOP’s page on the DPI website for more information on offerings.