LYNCHBURG, Va. - Kenron Joyner, Attlia Garcia and Amiyah Garner are some of the 500-plus seniors who will graduate from E.C. Glass or Heritage high schools next year.
"I plan on going to Coastal Carolina," Joyner said.
"I wanna major in business or law," Garcia said.
"I'm probably going to end up doing CVCC for two years just because it's free," Garner said.
Since the seventh grade the students have been a part of the federal program called GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
It's a program only tailored for the class of 2020.
School leaders help them get ready for college or trade school.
"It's stress-relieving know that you don't have to do it by yourself, that people are there to help you," Joyner said.
On Wednesday, Lynchburg City Schools and Beacon of Hope kicked off their GEAR UP event to motivate the seniors before the application process this fall.
"So they kind of get college access and career access basically on steroids," Laura Hamilton, executive director, said.
Listening to alumni success stories, seniors also received information about scholarships and how to mange their time throughout the school year.
"We need our parents to help push them into understanding; to ensure success they have to know what the resources are," Dashia Womack, GEAR UP division coordinator, said.
School officials said this is the last year for the program, but have money is left over to offer similar resources to the next graduating class.
Outgoing seniors are offering early advice.
"Don't think you're too cool to take the opportunities that they're giving you. Get the help while it's here," Garner said.
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