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Shawnee students celebrate Oklahoma Gear Up program

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
SMS students and teacher Andrew McCune at a University of Central Oklahoma college tour.

Shawnee Middle School eighth graders and Shawnee High School freshmen are among thousands of students in Oklahoma taking part and celebrating the Oklahoma Gear Up program.

According to SMS principal Joey Slate, while Gear Up is celebrating its success with National Gear Up Week from Sept. 21 to Sept. 25, SMS appreciates all the program does year round. 

“We celebrate Gear Up every day. Gear Up has followed this year's eighth grade and freshman classes with support and funding with the goal of making a lasting impact in the classroom and helping students become college and career ready,” Slate said. 

Shawnee is one of ten districts taking part in the program which offers college campus tours, ACT test preparation and testing and financial aid information,

Slate said SMS students have benefited greatly from Gear Up and all the program provides to prepare students for college.

“This year eighth grade students have visited two college campuses so far with Gear Up and hope to visit (the University of Oklahoma) later this year,” Slate said. “We have been able to purchase close to 250 chrome books, 30 iPads and countless hours of professional development through the K20 at the University of Oklahoma.” 

The administrator said Shawnee was among several suburban school districts chosen as a Gear Up site for the Future School.

“The program runs for seven years and follows the students from middle school to graduation,” Slate said. 

Slate said he’s looking forward to the future and working with the K20 Center and Gear Up to provide professional development designed for teacher and student needs.

For more information about GEAR UP or to contact a member of GEAR UP staff, please visit