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Contact: Christine Payton Jan. 23, 2009
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
It’s only 2009, but some members of the freshmen university Class of ’15 may soon be touring the UL Lafayette campus. That’s because the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is part of an effort to encourage and support young learners.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a six-year, $12 million federal grant initiative being locally administered by the Lafayette Parish School Board. The program follows students from 6th through 12th grade, with the goal of educational success beyond high school.

Six Lafayette Parish middle schools are participating: Acadian, Carencro, Judice, Lafayette, NP Moss and Scott.

“ It’s a comprehensive initiative,” explains Project Manager Traci Aucoin. Research determines specific programs, such as academic support for students, professional development for educators, family services, even summer camps and field trips related to topics students are studying. Community partners, such as businesses and non-profit organizations, help students explore future careers.

Student awareness — of educational and career opportunities — is an important aspect of GEAR UP, says Aucoin.

Several awareness events are planned for this week, including a visit to the UL Lafayette campus. Chad Foster motivational speaker and author (“Teenagers Preparing for the Real World”) formerly on ESPN, will engage students at three middle schools:

Scott Middle School Friday, Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m.

Judice Middle School Friday, Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Jan. 24, parents and students from those schools are invited to a GEAR UP event at the Advanced Computer Technology and Research Hall (computer science building), 301 E. Lewis St., on UL Lafayette campus. Following a continental breakfast, UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie will welcome students and parents. Foster will be joined by FranklinCovey’s Lonnie Moore (“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”). Parents and students will be offered tour the campus. Participants will receive complimentary men’s basketball tickets to see the Ragin’ Cajuns take on South Alabama in the Cajundome.

“ We want to give students meaningful hands-on experiences that enhance what is happening in the classroom,” says Aucoin. “We hope touring a university campus gives them a glimpse of what’s to come in the future.”


About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It ’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.

Document last revised Friday, January 23, 2009 9:29 AM

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