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Dougherty Co. GEAR UP program is getting kids involved in new summer activities

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County’s GEAR UP program is getting a boost this summer from a federal grant.

The program follows students from sixth grade to high school, offering them academic and extracurricular help.

Dougherty County is currently serving its first class of GEAR UP, students. They do a lot in the seven years with the group.

“We provide academic tutoring, access to STEM education, leadership skills, anything that will ensure that they are successful once they graduate high school and step foot on a campus, in the military, or join the workforce,” said Dr. Alana Simmons, the program director.

Dr. Alana Simmons is the Dougherty County director for GEAR Up.
Dr. Alana Simmons is the Dougherty County director for GEAR Up.(WALB)

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

Simmons said they’ve already seen successes in their class.

“One of the programs I am most proud of is we partnered with Albany Technical College to provide drone building and drone programming to our students. So last year we had seventh and eighth graders operating drones, which is not something you typically see,” said Simmons.

The cohort will possibly get the biggest exposure to unique programming this summer.

“We have seven different programs that we will be offering. Our entire program will be virtual. We’re very fortunate to partner with four different universities from around the county. Tulane in New Orleans, SCAD in Savannah, Florida International University as well as the University of California in San Diego,” explained Simmons.

The schools will give students access to award-winning programs in art, forensic science, community strategy, and a junior science academy.

All summer classes will be virtual.

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