Schools Sharing with Schools

We've started a google folder for resources that schools would like to share with other schools. If you have any resources to share, please send them to

Schools Sharing with Schools google folder

During the summer of 2015, RSU 83 did a fantastic job of combining their GU and MELMAC funds to provide their students with some experiences they had never had before. Students explored university libraries, went swimming in a pool, saw the ocean, and went to a "sit down" restaurant, things some of them had never experienced before. The students loved the libraries so much, they did not want to leave!

Because of their success, an admission person from Bowdoin called the principal and told her to let him know who was interested in going to Bowdoin. He will be do everything he can to help them. Way to go RSU 83 in using the grant funding in very creative and meaningful ways!

Check out Bingham's slideshow presentation to learn exactly how much they did and what their students were able to learn both academically and socially.

Spotlight on RSU #3's GEAR UP T-shirts!

Recently, Mount View Middle School students used their extended advisory time to explore careers using the website: Access to the materials on this site have been provided through their participation in GEAR UP. The grant has helped support their many efforts this year at the middle school including those related to their after school program, RTI time, and advisory (all new programs).

The virtual job shadow activity gave students a chance to answer questions about activities that they enjoy. Once the questions were answered, videos were provided that explain careers that match up with their interests. Students will continue to be provided with chances to investigate their interests more through many other activities, including their Career Day in the Spring.

See a couple more pictures here!

Spotlight on Future of Maine Scholars!

Future of Maine Scholars Program at RSU 10

The Future of Maine Scholars is a college scholarship for 3rd to 6th graders. Bob Stuart of Maine College Circle with Barb Radmore of Western Foothills Kids Association kicked off the initiative by talking to every 3-6th grade classroom at RSU 10. They had students thinking about what they might like to do, what colleges they could look at and introduced postsecondary vocabulary such as majors and degrees. The emphasis is on effort, starting now to work towards their dreams.

As part of the initiative, there is an essay contest for 3-6th graders. The essay should describe what they would like to do for a career, what colleges they would like to go to and what courses they would take. A committee of community members and educators score the essays and the winners receive a $100 scholarship.

This year there were 56 students selected to receive scholarships with goals ranging from archaeologists to game wardens, nurses, morticians, artists and everything in between. A ceremony was held to celebrate the recipients. This year, local Maine professionals who are in those careers handed out the awards to show students local support for the students' goals and introduce them to role models. There were 25 presenters including a doctor, a video game design professor from Husson, a game warden, an artists, a wildlife biologist , a veterinarian and many more.

Write up by Barb Radmore

Project Director, Western Foothills Kids Association

Spotlight on Narraguagus Trip to Massachusetts Colleges!

Narraguagus Students Visit Massachusetts Colleges

On April 28th, four Narraguagus High School students embarked on a three-day trip to visit three Massachusetts colleges. Please read the write up below written by Maria Frankland, the Narraguagus GEAR UP Coordinator.

"We arrived safe and sound in Amherst around 11 PM Thursday night. We spent Friday morning at Smith College and Friday afternoon at Boston College. After our tour, we spent time with a current BC student from Orrington. He talked with our girls not only about BC but also about adapting to an environment so different from rural Maine. The girls wanted to go to Quincy Market for dinner, so we headed into town. Little did we know that the Yankees were in town to play the Red Sox, and that our path would lead us into the Fenway traffic. What's a road trip without a little adventure?

On Saturday, our four students were among 189 girls from 29 states plus two countries who attended the Junior Open Campus event at Wellesley College. Our full day began with a panel discussion led by current Wellesley students, after which the students and guests went their separate ways for the remainder of the day. The girls attended one of ten sample classes. Two students chose Elementary Arabic, one chose The Wonderful World of Dante's Divine Comedy, and one chose Biomaterials: Chemistry in Action. They also toured campus and attended a workshop around the admissions process for selective universities.

Here are some comments from the girls:

I liked the fact that I was given the opportunity to look at such variety of schools so far away from home. Because I play sports and have many other commitments, it is hard to find the time and the money to go out of state and experience these kinds of colleges, which will be vital come time for the admissions process. One of my favorite parts was that it was a small group of students, so we were able to ask the questions we needed to ask without getting lost in the crowd. It made it feel like more of a personal experience. I would certainly recommend a trip like this to other students serious about looking for the right college for them. Before I visited Boston College, it was actually pretty high on my list. Now that I have visited, it is off of it completely. The opposite for Wellesley. I was a little on the fence about the school, but after this trip it is tied for my number one school along with another college. I think that this trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to experience some of the schools I have been looking at for some time now. Without this trip, it is very possible that I could have overlooked some incredible schools that seem to be a good fit for me, as well as consider a school that I would not have been happy attending.

I liked the opportunity that this trip provided. I was able to gather a lot of information and ideas of what type of colleges I want to attend. Yes, I would recommend this trip or a trip like this to other students.

I liked this trip because I learned what I want and don’t want. I learned that I don’t really want to go to an all-women school and that I don’t want to go to a really big school. I also learned about the Boston area and community. I would definitely recommend a trip like this because it was so beneficial to learn what I liked and didn’t like.

It was helpful to attend the admissions event. Not only did I learn about Wellesley College and its campus, but I was able to learn more about the admissions process which was very helpful to me. I feel like the advice that was given will also help me with exploring and choosing colleges in the future. I basically like everything about this trip. I love exploring and learning about the colleges. I love that it was a small group of students that came along and not a big group. I also like how students were able to contribute what they wanted to do. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity that I got to experience on this trip. I was able to find colleges that I really like and learn a lot about them. I hope that the future students will also get to experience this. Thank you once again for contributing to my wonderful experience.

Spotlight on WCLT Career Fair

With the combined efforts of the JMG College Success program at UMM and the Washington County Consortium, the Washington County Leadership Team hosted a Career Fair for grades 7-12 on April 29, on the campus of the University of Maine at Machias. The event, open to all schools in the county, left more than 500 attending students with a better understanding of the various careers available in Downeast Maine, as well as with a deeper appreciation of the training necessary to prepare for entry into those careers. Participating businesses and organizations included:

Berry Vines Florist

Washington County's Career Center

CES Surveyors

Down East Community Hospital

East Machias Fire Department

JM Appraisal Services

Machias Ambulance

Maine Marine Patrol

Maine Warden Service

Photos by Lida

Tide Mill Farms/Tide Mill Creamery

University of Maine at Machias

US Army

US Army National Guard

US Customs and Border Patrol

US Fish and Wildlife Services

US Wildlife Services

Washington County Regional Communications

Washington County Sheriff's Department

Washington County Community College

Spotlight on Mountain Valley Middle School Goes to College!

Mountain Valley Middle School students went on a potentially life-changing adventure on Thursday, May 26, 2016. For the first time ever, the entire student body and staff went on a college tour. They spent the day visiting the University of Maine-Farmington. The mission was for students to get a real taste of what college life is like, while experiencing a great, nationally acknowledged campus that is local. The day was sponsored in part by GEAR UP.

Students had a blast exploring campus! Highlights included the Mt. Blue Art Show in the UMF Art Gallery, the incredible resources at the Mantor Library, and the cool living facilities in the Scott South Residence Hall. Great fun was had by all in the Health and Fitness Center where students exhibited joyful exuberance as they swam and played on the courts.

UMF’s admissions representatives shared a wealth of information about what it takes to be successful as a first generation college student. They shared personal experiences of overcoming financial challenges and finding ways to pay for college with scholarships, grants, and loans.

Stephen Davis, a Career Counselor on campus, talked with students about the many supports available to help them be successful at UMF. He shared his experiences in helping students overcome obstacles, and fulfill their dream of attending and graduating from college.

Michael Lorusso talked with students about the many opportunities for students to be socially involved in campus life, explaining fun activities and clubs.

Eleni Margoronis, The GEAR UP regional coordinator was on hand to greet students when they arrived at UMF. She talked with students about the many post high school training opportunities in Maine.

Students devoured pizza, salad, and delicious desserts in the cafeteria.

According to students, the mission was definitely successful as quoted by Matt Miles who said “UMF is awesome!”

Spotlight GEAR UP Students Attend Week-Long UMF Summer Experience

We're so happy we had the chance to meet Ben, a high school student from Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. He truly is an inspirational GEAR UP student. Ben wanted to share with other GEAR UP students what he liked best about the UMF Summer Experience in hopes that they will take advantage of this amazing opportunity that GEAR UP and UMF provide each summer. Check out Ben's short video testimonial from his week on campus!

Pictured left - GEAR UP students attend the University of Maine at Farmington's week-long Summer Experience Program. During the program students are able to live on campus, take a one-credit course, and participate in campus activities.

Planting the Seeds of Shared Leadership!

On October 28th, over 100 GEAR UP Maine students, parents, and staff traveled to Bangor, Maine to attend a three-day leadership summit directed by GEAR UP Maine and Seeds Training. New friendships were started, new memories were made, wooden boards were broken and lives were forever changed. Students, Staff and Parents were challenged to leave their "Fimage"(Fear of Image) at the door and spend three days learning about emotional capacity, how to work in teams, and solve complex problems.

Be sure to check out the GEAR UP Maine Facebook page for more photos of the summit

Robotics Expo December 10, 2016

On December 10th students from all over Maine attended the FIRST LEGO League Championship at the Augusta Civic Center. The FIRST® LEGO® League is an international STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) program based out of Manchester New Hampshire. In Maine, we run the FLL, coordinate with many teams, and host the Maine FLL Championship. Each year the program hosts a new theme and missions for the robots to complete. This year's theme was Animal Allies. Check out the collage below catpuring the intense competitions and you can also find more images here on our facebook page

Maine College Circle Expands to A Pre-Degree Program

GEAR UP Maine is excited to partner with Maine College Circle. Several GEAR UP Maine districts have taken advantage of MeCC's program for their 7th and 8th grade students!

Bob Stuart works tirelessly making information about the opportunity of higher education equally accessible to all students in grades 3-8. The two biggest messages Bob gives to students are: that everyone has the opportunity to go to college, and that effort is the key — not intelligence, not location, not economic background — effort. He believes effort is the great equalizer. It is something that everyone can do, regardless of how fast their brain works.

After he meets the students in their schools for a fun-filled information sharing session shedding light on the big book of colleges, the students have the opportunity to write a college essay for a scholarship. The essays are read by community members. Everyone who writes an essay gets a tee shirt. Depending on the local community funding, Future of Maine College Aspirations Scholarships of $100.00 are awarded to future sawmill operators, loggers, paleontologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, auto mechanics, lobstermen, global activists, musicians, pediatricians, video game designers, fashion designers, bankers, authors, marines, marine biologists, game wardens, robotic engineers, and potato farmers.

The students receive the scholarships at a celebratory awards ceremony that parents, siblings, grandparents, and all sorts of family members and friends attend.

After the whole process very positive and inspiring comments are heard from teachers, school counselors, principals, students, parents, and family members. They make it very clear that what their communities are doing with Bob has a very significant impact on the future of these kids and their communities.

Comment from a scholarship recipient grandparent in 2017:

" I was so excited to hear from my grandson today. He said Mimi, I had the best day ever, I got a scholarship for college today. Dad got a letter from school telling him also." My grandson now has it in his mind that he IS going to college.

Great program!”

~Susan A. Pratt