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Gear Up tabling Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022 in the University Center

Gearing Up Students for the Future

By: Alondra Mejia-Rendon

CHATTANOOGA, TN ( Gear Up is a program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, it helps aid low-income high school students with college readiness, after school programs, and tutors. Gear Up is partnered up with high schools like Brainerd High School, Howard High School, and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy.  

Jared Steiman and Danielle Hawkins pictured with students at Camp Gear Up.

Jared Steiman, Gear Up program coordinator, is a UTC alumni and graduated in 2020.  Steiman received an amazing opportunity to teach in Mexico and had to leave Gear Up for this school year.

Steiman shares his experience with Gear Up, “Gear Up’s undeserved, first-generation students are seeing first hand how being college can put your life on an entirely different trajectory. The teaching assistants and after school counselors I have supervised have been something I’ve enjoyed.”

For this year’s school year, Gear Up’s coordinators are Anne Windham and Danielle Hawkins. Windham overlooks Howard High School and Hawkins is over Chattanooga Leadership Academy, also known as CGLA. Hawkins and Windham both share what they are looking forward to this year.

“I’m looking forward to helping students and getting to meet our news staff this year. Can’t wait for what this school year brings!” Hawkins stated.

“I can’t wait to see the students again for this upcoming school year. Our summer camp was successful, and I look forward to working with our new staff and helping every way we can!” Windham stated.

Gear Up offers positions for after school tutors and teaching assistants, paying $15 an hour. Teaching assistants can really get the gist of a classroom experience. Also, if you are bilingual in English and Spanish it can be a big help for students at Howard.

Over 53.3% of students at Howard High School are Hispanic. Many of the Hispanic students first language is not English. They struggle with reading and comprehension. A student from Howard High School Antonio Francisco Santiago tells us how Gear Up teaching assistants have helped him.

“My teacher assistant has helped me a lot in my classes. At first, I didn’t really understand what the texts in our books or the worksheets were asking us to do. There would be some moments where I didn’t really understand what our teacher would be saying. I’m thankful that I have someone to translate texts and understand me.”

Santiago came to the U.S. three years ago and has been struggling to keep up with a new setting and a new language. He has been more productive and even plans on going to a two-year college.

Many teaching assistants and after school tutors really enjoy the Gear Up program. They love connecting with the students and teachers. As for the teachers, they really appreciate the extra help for the students.

If you are looking for a close by job near campus, and are interested in tutoring for Math, English, and even Science, you can join Gear Up. It also doesn’t pertain to any major and is open to all majors.

Visit their websites for more information and help them gear up the next generation for college!

About Alondra Mejiarendon

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