COVINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) - While students at Covington High School are gearing up for Friday night’s game, they’ve also been spending the week gearing up for college.
"Gear Up was a program created to help students maximize their opportunities for college," said Daniel Hamm a college adviser at the school.
The program started four years ago with a grant used for a group of students that at the time were in 7th grade. Now they’re juniors.
About 55 students are in the Gear Up program and they come from all different backgrounds.
"It’s our job as coordinators, counselors, advisers to help them understand what college can be used for, for them in the future and how that could change their life and be such a catalyst for them to move forward," Daniel explained.
Daniel is able to meet with the students either one-on-one or in groups. He says it’s rewarding to witness students when they have that ah-ha moment that college is possible.
"Their reaction is like, 'Oh my gosh! I can do this?' Or, 'I can get this much?' Or, 'This is possible? Wow! I never really thought about it before,'" Daniel said.
During Gear Up Week there are different activities to increase the student’s awareness about college. Teachers will put on their college T-shirts or they’ll hang up signs outside of their classrooms that say what college they went to.
"With college, they’re starting to see the possibility of getting out and exploring, trying to learn exactly what they want to do, and get the most that they can out of life," Daniel said.
And it’s all about starting the conversation as early as possible.
"Find out what their plans are, even if they’re in ninth grade. I think it’s really important to me and for them to understand that it’s something they should be thinking about very early on as far as the classes they’re going to be taking, the importance of doing well in those classes. Just thinking about your plan all the way through because it all matters," Daniel explained.