May 1, 2001
CONTACT: Michelle Johnson
(609) 292-6190

NJ GEAR UP: Second Annual 21st Century Scholar Certificate Award Ceremony

Saturday, May 19, 2001
The College of New Jersey

The Honorable DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., New Jersey's 30th Secretary of State will serve as keynote speaker to an audience of aspiring young people and their parents on May 19, 2001 at the Second Annual 21st Century Scholar Certificate Award Ceremony. NJ GEAR UP State Project celebrates the remarkable commitment and early preparation of 7th grade students from Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, and Camden who have started to plan for college. The 21st Century Scholar Certificate Award Ceremony specifically targets 7th grade students to help reinforce their decision to attend college.

The NJ GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) State Project is a $10 million federal grant awarded to the Commission on Higher Education in 1999. The project provides academic instruction, tutoring, mentoring, support, and financial aid services to students, grades 7-12, who participate in the program. Scholarships are awarded to students who complete the program.

The Second Annual 21st Century Scholar Certificate Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 10:00 a.m., at The College of New Jersey, in Ewing, New Jersey. About 150 seventh grade students will receive personalized certificates that indicate the approximate amounts of federal and state financial aid they may be eligible to receive when they go to college. By participating in the ceremony, students and parents are provided with tangible evidence that a college education is indeed possible and affordable. Approximately 60 twelfth-grade participants and other outstanding students will also be recognized for their accomplishments.

Over 600 students in 17 middle and high schools in four target cities participate in an extensive array of NJ GEAR UP services each year, from Saturday classes to 6-week summer programs. Providing these services are staff of pre-college programs at six colleges and universities (Mercer County Community College in Trenton, Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey City University in Jersey City, and the Consortium for Pre-College Education in Greater Newark, comprised of New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers-Newark, University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ); representatives from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA); hundreds of tutors, mentors and instructors; and guidance counselors and teachers from the target schools.

The national mission of GEAR UP is to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. New Jersey is committed to supporting this endeavor. NJ GEAR UP is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and matching contributions from the state of New Jersey and the six participating institutions of higher education.

For more information on the Second Annual 21st Century Scholar Certificate Award Ceremony, please contact Michelle Johnson, NJ GEAR UP State Coordinator, at (609) 292-6190, or send an e-mail to indicating your name and phone number.

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