In Their Own Voices: Student Trust Award Recipients

Fall 2005 | | November 21, 2005 at 2:20 pm

Since 1999, 3,750 students at GEAR UP schools have received $2,000 Education Trust Awards — a total of $7.5 million.  The first 250 students are accessing their awards for college this year.  One of these college students is Noe Rivas, currently enrolled at Glendale Community College after attending Reed Middle School and North Hollywood High School.  He responded to these questions about the award and the program:

Question:  How did GEAR UP help you in middle school?
GEAR UP helped me in many ways in middle school. It helped me to get ahead in my academic classes such as math, English, and science. It also helped me by getting all this information about colleges and universities which made me want to go to one of them. This information also made me study harder because I knew that I would need to work hard to get to one of those universities or colleges.

Q:   Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome on your journey to college?
There are always obstacles that keep you from getting something that you really want. I had some obstacles which I thought wouldn’t let me go to the college that I wanted to go to. I had some family problems during my junior and senior years that made me slow down in my studies. Money was also an obstacle because I knew that college was very expensive and I didn’t have that type of money with me. I am not from this country so that was another obstacle because I knew that college would be harder for me, not in the sense that I wouldn’t be able to keep up academically but with the money and other privileges. All these were obstacles that I thought would keep me from going to college, but I was wrong.  I was able to overcome each and every obstacle that came, and now I am in college.

Q:  What does the Educational Trust Award ($2,000) mean to you now that you are enrolled in college?
The Educational Trust Award means a lot to me now that I am in college. The units and the books are really expensive, and I need all the money that I can get. That’s where the Award comes in.  I am not going to take money out of my pocket for like the first year and a-half because the Trust Award will be able to pay for it.

Q:  What is your career goal?
My career goal is to one day become a great mechanical engineer. But I don’t want everything for myself.  I want to help out my community, specifically those students who need the most help to get to college just the way GEAR UP helped me.
Q:  Is there anything you would like to tell middle school students currently attending a California GEAR UP school?
I want to tell these students to take advantage of the GEAR UP Program. It is free so don’t let all this great help be there for nothing. Try to get involved as much as possible in the GEAR UP Program and always go to their field trips and their meetings.  You will get a lot of information from them.  Study hard and get prepared for a great future that awaits you.

Comments from other Students…

Maralle Manachian is enrolled at Pasadena City College and wants be a nurse or physician’s assistant.  Maralle’s mother became involved in a parents’ group at Reed Middle School after her daughter learned about GEAR UP.  Maralle’s advice to middle schools students is, “Take advantage of everything that is offered about college, like Career Day and workshops on financing college.  It helps to be part of activities in school also.”

Stephanie Silva is enrolled at the University of California, Santa Barbara and plans to attend law school or become a crime scene detective.  GEAR UP helped her in middle school in the sense that for the first time college was a goal that was introduced to her. As she says, “No one before had mentioned college to me, and this set my focus on the goal to attend college.”  

For more information contact the Student Aid Commission at (916) 526-7965.

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