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Gear Up Virginia

2020 Winter GEARUP Virginia Newsletter

2020 Winter GEARUP Virginia Newsletter


VirginiaCAN 2019
GEAR UP & VCAC at VirginiaCAN Conference
GEAR UP partners headed to Richmond for the annual Virginia College Access Network (VirginiaCAN) Conference. Conference attendees came together for three days to share best practices on our joint mission to “enhance access to post-secondary education for residents of Virginia.”

GEAR UP Virginia (GUV) worked with partners throughout the state to create engaging and informative presentations.  GUV and the Virginia College Advising Corps (VCAC) created an idea café to showcase the college advisers’ best practices, including interactive scholarship websites, successful event planning and building student-staff relationships.  Melissa Benavidez, GUV's North Central Regional Manager, collaborated with the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN) to present on college access programming for Latinx students. Katherine Lesnak and Andrew Kramer, GUV's Co-Coordinators from E.C. Glass High School, along with College Adviser, Lia Slaton, presented “The Climb: A Guide to Conquering the Mountains of Senior Year and Beyond.” E.C. Glass High School’s GUV team created the Climb booklet, inspired by a presentation from Arizona’s GEAR UP at the National Council for Community and Education Partnership (NCCEP) Conference.  

For pictures and more information on this year’s VirginiaCAN conference, please visit their website. Save the date for next year’s conference from December 2-4, 2020 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

GEAR UP Virginia Scholarship Update
The GUV Scholarship is available to eligible GUV participants from the 2014-21 cohort. Student must complete a two-part process in order to apply for this scholarship. 

Part one on the GUV Scholarship Application Process will be opening in February 2020.  Students will submit a GUV Contact form to provide basic information and post secondary plans. All GUV students regardless of their post secondary plans and/or scholarship eligibility should fill out the GUV Contact form no later than June 1, 2020.

Part two of the GEAR UP Application process, the GUV Intent to Enroll/ Payment Request,  will be sent to students home based on their information on the GUV Contact Form. Students must submit a GUV Intent to Enroll/Payment Request form and documents to confirm HS graduation, college enrollment, financial aid eligibility and scholarship option. This form will be mailed to students’ home addresses beginning in May,but will also be available on the GEAR UP website. Students must return the form and documents to SCHEV at least 30 days before the beginning of the term students want to receive payment. Once SCHEV receives this form, a tentative award letter will be mailed to students’ home addresses.

Save the date! GUV Scholarship webinars are scheduled from 6 PM to 7 PM on February 11, February 20 and March 5. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, visit for information on scholarship eligibility, the payment process and more.

GEAR UP Student Ambassadors
GUV Ambassador FlyerThe GEAR UP Virginia grant will follow students into the 2020-2021 academic school year, which will be many students' first year of postsecondary. In order to help with the transition to college, GUV will train current seniors to be GUV Student Ambassadors on their future college campus. There will be one GUV Student Ambassador per college campus at 40 colleges and universities across Virginia. These GEAR UP Student Ambassadors will: 1) be the point-of-contact for other GUV students on their campus for all things GEAR UP-related; 2) use Remind to provide guidance to fellow classmates on college resources, deadlines, important dates, events and campus information; and 3) organize two face-to-face GUV events.

The application to become a GUV Student Ambassador will open in April 2020. GUV Coordinators will play a large role in the application process, as they will  invite student leaders to apply and assist with the application process by uploading student essays and resumes on the Jotform, along with their recommendations. Keep an eye out for potential GUV student leaders starting now!

Years of Experience
Stacey Garnett Receiving Award

Congratulations to Stacey Garnett ,GUV Fiscal and Administrative Specialist, for 25 years of service with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Paula Robinson, Assistant Director, College Access and PK-12 Outreach, for 15 years of service with the Commonwealth!


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Regional Highlights

North Central Region
Charlottesville Students at Bridgewater College
A group of GEAR UP students from Charlottesville High School visited Bridgewater College on September 27, 2019. Thanks to the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC), students were able to tour the campus and have lunch with college students in the dining hall at no cost to the school.

Southeastern Region

De'Ryan Artis
Suffolk GEAR UP student, De'Ryan Artis, has been cast in a Netflix purchased internet TV show called Dark Hood Society. Although the episodes are still being filmed, De'Ryan thinks he will be in about three episodes. You may have seen him on the campus of Old Dominion University for CoolSpeak's 2015 Power of Youth Leadership Academy or BLAST Camp 2017.

Western Region

Students at Randolph-Henry High SchoolRandolph-Henry High School’s GEAR UP team enjoyed helping their seniors complete college applications during Virginia College Application Week (VCAW). They added to the week’s festivities by including a door-decorating contest, as well as an #Iapplied picture frame to support students and create a college going culture.

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Professional Development

Whole Teacher for the Whole Child - January 31, 2020
Adults need social-emotional learning too! Learn how to transform classroom culture for both teachers and students using the science of well being. You will gain tools grounded in science to help you be your best so that you can give your best to the students in your care. Learn how to collect positive experiences, maintain your own resilience, and take specific steps that will be transformational for you and your students. Join VASCD and your peers to see presenter Chase Mielke, Author of the Burnout Cure at the Fulghum Center.

Teaching for Creativity - March 17, 2020
Creative expression is for all classes! In every academic area and grade level, we have opportunities to develop students’ creative thinking while learning academic content; when students find their own unique ways to express what they’re learning, they’ll love it more and remember it longer. Join VASCD at Blue Ridge Community College to explore ways to develop one of Virginia’s “5 C’s” in your classroom!

Virginia Civics We the People Training Program

We the People training program provides participating educators with the pedagogical preparation to be effective teachers of civics and government.  Cohort members receive PD hours, a classroom set of We the People textbooks, access to top scholars and mentor teachers and more! Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2020.

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Classroom and college-going resources

2020 Undergraduate Scholarships that don’t require proof of US citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency Immigrant Rising has compiled an 82-page file of scholarships that do not require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency.

ACT Testing Dates April 4, 2020 (Registration Deadline: February 28, 2020), June 13, 2020 (Registration Deadline: May 8, 2020)

DO-IT- College Funding for Students with Disabilities  DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology.  Resources, including scholarships, for students with disabilities.

ECMC’s Financial Awareness Basics Includes information, tips, and tools for managing your money. FAB flyers cover the five building blocks identified by the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission to help families manage and grow their money.

Parent Action Plan: 12th Grade An action plan for families in their senior or 12th grade year of school.

PBS Learning Media Find resources and activities for high school lesson plans. Inspire students with videos, games, and activities aligned to state and national standards.

SAT Testing Dates March 7, 2020 (Registration Deadline: February 14, 2020), May 2, 2020 (Registration Deadline: April 3, 2020)

SCHEV’s Financial Aid Page Information on financial aid in Virginia, including links to Virginia state grants, Academic Common Market, in-state tuition and more.

Any links to external websites provided in this newsletter are provided as a courtesy. They should not be construed as an endorsement by SCHEV of the content or views of the linked materials.

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AAPG Foundation Teacher of the Year Award The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has promoted the geosciences since 1967 by providing funding for a variety of educational and research programs that benefit the geologic profession and the general public. AAPG presents this award annually to an outstanding K-12 geoscience teacher who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of geoscience education. Due Date: January 31, 2020.

American Honda Foundation Education Grants The American Honda Foundation supports education with a specific focus on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); the environment; job training; and literacy. Due Date: February 1, 2020.

Giving Network Grants Erie Insurance offers Giving Network Grants in the areas of education, culture and the arts, health and human services, basic needs, and environmental responsibility. Due Date: February 10, 2020.

Dickinson Scholarships The Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) sponsors the Dickinson Scholarship for a school librarian in active service or one entering the school library profession. Funding supports tuition for college-level programs in school library science. The award also includes complimentary attendance at the VAASL Annual Conference, where the scholarship is presented. Due Date: March 31, 2020.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to help farmers positively influence their communities and support local school districts. The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a merit-based grant to enhance education in the areas of mathematics or science. Due Date: April 1, 2020.

The Marietta McNeill Morgan and Samuel Tate Morgan, Jr. Trust The Marietta McNeill Morgan and Samuel Tate Morgan, Jr. Trust supports and promotes quality educational and human-services programming in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Program areas include arts and culture, humanities, education, and human services. The foundation has funded projects in the areas of early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and arts education. Due Date: April 1, 2020.

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Student Scholarships

C-SPAN'S Student Cam "What is your vision in 2020" 5-6 short film contest open to 6-12 grade students; over 150 will receive an award, with $100,000 given out in total. Amount: Varies. Due date: January 20, 2020.

APIA Scholars This scholarship is open to students of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity with GPA of 2.7+. Amount: $2,500 - $20,000. Due date: January 22, 2020.

The Point Foundation Open to high school seniors and current college students including undocumented students who identify with and work for the betterment of the LGBTQ community. Amount: Varies. Due date: January 27, 2020.

I Have a Dream Scholarship - Scholarship open to students age 13+ who write a 250-word essay on a dream they have had. Amount: $1,500. Due date: January 31, 2020.

Beauty Schools-Cosmetology Scholarship This scholarship is open to students interested in cosmetology or barbering. Amount: $2,500. Due date: January 31, 2020.

Dixie Softball Scholarship Scholarship applicants must have participated in a Dixie softball program for at least 2 seasons.  Must have financial need. Amount: $1,500. Due Date: February 1, 2020.

The John Randolph Foundation Scholarship  This foundation offers many scholarship opportunities for students residing in Hopewell, Prince George, Enon, Chester, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Sussex, Surry, Charles City, and Varina. Amount: Varies. Due date: February 15, 2020.

Daughters of the American Revolution Several different DAR scholarships. Click the link to learn eligibility and award for the more than 15 DAR scholarships. Amount: Varies. Due date: February 15, 2020.

Virginia P.E.O. Foundation State Scholarship Fund This fund provides a minimum of $1,500 scholarships to women who are domiciled in Virginia to attend an accredited Virginia school of higher education. Amount: $1,500 to $2,500. Due Date: February 15, 2020.

Bailey Family Foundation This program provides educational renewable scholarships to high school seniors who have a financial need and have demonstrated scholastic achievement, and a dedication to community service. Amount: $5000 Due Date: February 28, 2020.

Virginia Department of Aviation – John R. Lillard Scholarship This scholarship is open to a Virginia high school senior; have a 3.5 unweighted GPA; be planning a career in the field of aviation; must be enrolled or accepted into an aviation-related program at an accredited college: and must submit an essay on the subject: “Why I Wish to Pursue a Career in Aviation.” Amount: $3,000 Due Date: March 6, 2020.

Virginia Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) Four scholarships for underrepresented minority student planning to major in business, engineering, technology, mathematics or physical science fields. Amount: $3,000. Due Date: March 15, 2020.

Virginia Farm Bureau – Outstanding Young Agriculturalist  This scholarship is open to high school junior or senior students who show outstanding academic, community and agribusiness achievement. Applicants will be judged on: academic achievement, general leadership, farm/agriculture-related experience, 3 letters of recommendation, and a 3-5 minute oral presentation. Award Amount: $100 - $1500 Due Date: March 31, 2020.

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Important Dates

January 17, 2020: 2nd Reimbursement & match due for ALL regions

February 23-26, 2020: The NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop in Orlando, FL

February 28, 2020: Annual Data Request 2018-19

March 6, 2020:  3rd Reimbursement and Match Due for Western Region

March 13, 2020: 3rd Reimbursement and Match Due for North Central and Southeast Regions

May 1, 2020:  4th Reimbursement and Match Due for Western Region

May 14, 2020: 4th Reimbursement and Match Due for North Central and Southeast Regions

Staff Contact

Erin McGrath
GUV Senior Coordinator

Tierney Jackson
GUV Scholarship Administrator

Stacey Garnett
GUV Fiscal and Administrative Specialist

Amy Wiggington
GUV Data Specialist

Linda Staylor
Regional Manager- West

Melissa Benavidez
Regional Manager- North Central

Reshaud Rich
Regional Manager- Southeast

Paula Robinson
Assistant Director, College Access and PK-12 Outreach


SCHEV values honesty, quality, diversity, inclusion, growth-orientation, personal well-being, equity, transparency and accountability.
Through these values, we create a welcoming work environment that represents the best of who we are as an agency and as individuals.

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