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Federal Gear Up, Syracuse City School District host Class of 2013 ceremony and orientation

September 16, 2009

Eileen Jevis
(315) 443-3527

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) and the Institute of Technology in the Syracuse City School District hosted an opening ceremony and orientation for the district’s ninth-graders—the Class of 2013—on Sept. 3. Students, parents and families of the class participated in the ceremony, led by SCSD’s Institute of Technology Principal Matthew Williams.

 GEAR UP supports students’ efforts to successfully complete high school while taking the steps needed to be accepted to and succeed in college. Administrators, teachers and community members greeted the Class of 2013 and their families. The Institute of Technology’s theme, “We will graduate, we will go to college, and we will succeed in college,” was highlighted throughout the evening.

 Four juniors carried candles that represented scholarship, character, service and leadership. Talent development teacher Robert Piraino carried the candle that represents knowledge. Students were told that knowledge is achieved through scholarship, character, service and leadership.

 Bea González, dean of University College and director of the Syracuse University Federal GEAR UP Program, welcomed students and their families and shared the mission of the Syracuse University GEAR UP Program. Debra Schoening, director of the School Improvement/Say Yes to Education Program, gave an overview of the Say Yes to Education philosophy and emphasized the program’s goals, “college ready, college bound and college graduate.”

The opening ceremony was followed by an orientation program. Students and parents had the opportunity to meet the ninth-grade teachers and staff from the Institute of Technology. GEAR UP Program coordinator Suzanne Sprague presented information explaining the GEAR UP Program to students and families. After receiving their schedules, students were given a tour of the school building. The evening concluded with a picnic celebrating the beginning of the Class of 2013’s journey.

 The federal GEAR UP program is administered at University College of Syracuse University. For more information, contact Julie O’Connor, assistant director of administration and operations for federal GEAR UP at 443-3262 or

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