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GEAR Up helps PCSD students connect with college, careers

Adam Lengel and Courtney Walsh, GEAR UP advisors at Normandy, provide invaluable college and career help for students. Photo


February 11, 2019



by Ana Vuvunikyan

11th Grade,

Normandy High School



While many students plan to pursue higher education, naturally, not all know where to start in the long search for best-personalized options. In this uneasy search, it is important to realize that there are plenty of resources available throughout the Parma City School District. 


The GEAR Up program for high school students is one of the best opportunities for assistance in this journey.  GEAR Up stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs”, and as a district, high school students are very fortunate to have this resource at their disposal.


GEAR Up is a federally funded grant program, free for students who wish to use it.  Each of the PCSD high schools has GEAR UP staff members who help students learn more about their upcoming options, including Courtney Walsh and Adam Lengel at Normandy, Hillary Walker at Valley Forge and Tameka Pollard at Parma Senior High.


Located in the student services office of every school, GEAR Up advisors aren’t hard to find. Students are encouraged to stop by and talk with the GEAR Up advisors about their education options past high school. Help is available with college applications, college searches, financial options, and much more.


“I am here to support the kids who may not know how to (start),” said Walsh. 


Additionally, there are a variety of types of college trips planned, for both seniors and underclassmen, to private colleges and public, urban and rural.  These trips are at no cost to students and are an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the colleges and universities that are of interest to them.


The GEAR Up advisors advocate all students use  Naviance and take advantage of the career profiles survey. The survey is meant to help students figure out what career they would like to pursue.  In addition, Naviance also provides information for students to learn about scholarships. 


According to Walsh, it is important for students know their GPA, ACT and SAT scores before coming in for advice.  This is information typically students do not have, or forget. 


Also, taking the ACT provides an additional source of opportunities for scholarships.  Walsh’s study advice is fairly simple, including, “practicing the timing- it’s the most difficult of all the aspects.”


As students, it is important that we embrace the resources available to us to assist with our success. It is crucial that we continue to educate ourselves in this complex world.



PHOTO CAPTION:  Adam Lengel and Courtney Walsh, GEAR UP advisors at Normandy, provide invaluable college and career help for students. Photo Credit: Digital Media & Creative Arts student Maria Jogan.