North Iredell Middle students 'gear up' for post-secondary careers

Posted at 10:52 PM on Sep 3, 2019


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Eighth-graders from North Iredell Middle School recently visited Wilkes Community College to learn about Applied Animal Science Technology, Building & Construction Technology, Collision Repair & Refurbishing Technology, and Horticulture Technology.

The trip was part of the Iredell-Statesville Schools' GEAR UP program, which is funded by a $6 million-plus federal grant is to provide evidence-based rigorous studies, instructional strategies and targeted engagement to navigate college enrollment.

The grant, which is a seven-year commitment, is one of the largest and most effective programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in communities nationwide.

“We want out students to see how Agriculture can lead to post-secondary instruction and careers," Gear up Graduation Coach Laura LaLonde said. "Since Wilkes Community College has both an animal science and horticulture program, the visit was a good fit for our students' interests.”

North Middle eighth-graders will visit more programs during this school year, including a scheduled visit to Mitchell Community College to explore post secondary career pathways.

GEAR UP is a highly competitive grant program that helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals:
● Increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students;
● Improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and
● Raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and


To learn more about the GEAR UP program, reach out to the Gear Up grant director, Dr. Stacy Williams at

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