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Connecticut Schools and Colleges Celebrate Early College Awareness Week
With Activities for Students and Parents

HARTFORD, Oct. 12 With National College Awareness Week starting Monday, the Connecticut Department of Higher Education is joining with middle schools and colleges to launch a series of informational programs on the importance of preparing early for college.

Underscoring the week’s special focus, Governor John G. Rowland has issued a proclamation declaring October 16 – 23 as Connecticut’s "Early College Awareness Week."

The programs will kick-off on Wednesday, October 18 at schools in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven the three cities served by the Department’s $10.5 million federal grant to support activities under GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). College officials and students as well as GEAR UP staff from the Department of Higher Education will visit city schools to encourage students to get a head start on preparing for college. Similar programs will be held at schools and colleges in other areas of the state during the rest of the year.

"With GEAR UP, we have the resources to personally reach out to students and parents who might not otherwise have access to information about college," stated Valerie F. Lewis, Commissioner of higher education. "Our goal is to motivate students and parents to plan early for college so that every child can succeed in life. Middle school is the ideal time to begin so we are targeting workshops, presentations and publications specifically for these students and their parents. We are especially pleased by the overwhelming interest shown by Connecticut’s colleges in helping us lead this exciting new campaign."

Early college awareness events scheduled for next week are:

Wednesday, October 18

Bridgeport: Students from Curiale, Roosevelt and Longfellow Schools will meet at Basick High School at 9:30 am. with Cynthia Swift, director of Fairfield University’s Minority Advancement Program. College students from Sacred Heart University, Yale University and the University of Bridgeport also will participate.

Hartford: 7th grade students from Fox Middle School will celebrate Early College Awareness Week with Higher Education Commissioner Lewis as well as with presenters from the University of Connecticut and Trinity College starting at 9:00 am.

New Haven: A program for parents and students from six middle schools will start at 6:00 pm. at New Haven’s Career High School. Speakers include Yale University faculty.


Thursday, October 19

Bridgeport: Students from Luis Munoz Marin, Cross and Dunbar schools will meet at 9:30 am. at Harding High School with Higher Education Commissioner Lewis and Janis M. Hadley, president of Housatonic Community College, and local college students.

Hartford: Quirk Middle School will conduct a symposium with representatives from the University of Connecticut, Trinity College and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education starting at 8:30 a.m.


Friday, October 20

Hartford: A pep rally on "Gearing Up for College" is scheduled for 1:50 pm. at South Middle School and will include representatives from Yale University, Trinity College and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.


Saturday, October 21

Hartford: Trinity College will host an early college awareness program for Hartford parents featuring Samuel Rush, associate director of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) and Department of Higher Education staff. The program will start at 8:45 am.


In addition, the Consulting Center, an affiliate of Yale University and a GEAR UP partner is launching the MAAX (Maximizing Adolescent Academic eXcellence), a 10 week after-school program for 7th and 8th grade students to run in 15 middle schools. Other GEAR UP activities include after-school tutoring, student "shadow days" on college campuses, student and parent workshops, staff development and the unveiling of a magazine on college preparation for middle school students.

The following colleges have offered to partner with public schools to conduct early awareness activities during the rest of the school year:

  • the University of Connecticut will link with East Hartford Middle School to provide parent and student activities.
  • the University of Connecticut Health Center’s School of Medicine will conduct workshops at several Hartford middle schools.
  • Trinity College will host GEAR UP’s Saturday Academy, a 10-week program for 8th grade parents and students. Trinity College students will work with Fox Middle School students throughout the year.
  • Three Rivers Community College will lead a series of activities for parents and students at Lebanon Middle Middle School and Montville’s Leonard J. Tyl Middle School.
  • Central Connecticut State University will link with New Britain’s Roosevelt Middle School to provide students with a campus tour and a study skills workshop.
  • Sacred Heart University will conduct a parent workshop at Bridgeport’s Multicultural Magnet School.
  • Mitchell College’s women’s basketball team will link with six area middle schools to provide a unique mentoring program combining academics and athletics.
  • Norwalk Community College will link with Norwalk’s Ponus Ridge Middle School for a student presentation.
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College and the Connecticut Higher Education Student Loan Association will link with Waterbury’s Northend Middle School to do a variety of activities.
  • the University of Hartford will link with Fox Middle School for a year-long mentoring program.

For more details on these activities and the Department of Higher Education’s GEAR UP project, contact Connie Fraser or Carolyn Karno, GEAR UP Communications/Outreach Officer at the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, (860) 947-1854.

Contact: Connie Fraser


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