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Hannah Nyland was selected for the Youth Leadership Summit, which is a high-energy, interactive training experience and peer-to-peer opportunity for GEAR UP students in 11th and 12th grades. Students experience personal growth and learn leadership skills with GEAR UP students from across the country. The days are long, the sessions are packed – it’s important that the students offered this opportunity are responsible, excited, and willing to participate. Hannah fit all the criteria, and was one of eight selected in Washington State. 

Not only did Hannah attend the GEAR UP conference, but she also had the opportunity to present at the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) conference before a group of 2,000 educators, along with members  of the Board of Education and White House administration.  School chaperone Melissa Tillson also  attended the NCCEP conference.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a competitive federal program that provides six- and seven-year grants to education/community partnerships. Blaine High School and Blaine Middle School are among the more than 40 schools in Washington State that have been selected for funding and then designed unique programs to make GEAR UP's vision and objectives a reality. Travel, food and lodging for students and their school chaperone for the conference was covered by GEAR UP. 

 "I was really excited to be representing our school in D.C., and I learned so much from it," Hannah said.  Thank you for representing us and for exemplifying The Blaine Way Hannah! We are so proud of you! 

The Selection Process:

Hannah’s first step in receiving the Washington, DC scholarship was to be selected for the Student Advisory Panel for GEAR UP, and as a member of that panel she is an advocate and voice for secondary students in Washington State, working directly with GEAR UP, which is overseen by the Washington Student Achievement Council, which reports directly to the governor.

Secondly, Hannah applied for the competitive scholarship—the process being much like a college admissions packet, including a required essay. Applications came from all over the state representing the forty-plus schools involved in GEAR UP. 

The result: Hannah was selected and was one of the elite eight to travel to DC.

More About GEAR UP:

GEAR UP’s vision is that all students are academically, socially, and financially prepared to enter and complete the postsecondary program or institution of their choice. 

GEAR UP’S Three Objectives are:

  1. Increase academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education.
  2. Increase high school graduation and postsecondary participation rates.
  3. Increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and finances.