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Fifth and Sixth Grade Sacaton Students Get Taste of College Life Off the Reservation


June 04, 2001

MESA, Ariz. Fifth and sixth grade students from Sacaton schools are gearing up for a summer program that will have them engaged in math, science, engineering and technology. Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College are teaming up for a second year to offer the GEAR-UP Summer Residential Program that provides students an opportunity to improve their academic skills and learn to establish obtainable academic and career goals.

"The curriculum includes hands-on projects with an emphasis on building student confidence in succeeding academically," said Phillip Huebner, director of the Office of American Indian Programs at ASU's Polytechnic campus.

Twenty-five students will participate in this two-week program that begins on Monday, June 4, and ends Friday, June 15. In addition to studying, hands-on exploratory activities and field trips, the students are also given opportunities to unwind.

"Because this is a residential program, it's intense, and students may get a little homesick." said Huebner. "So we incorporate sports and other recreation-type activities into the day to help them cope with being away from home and off the reservation, possibly for the first time in their lives."

The program will help improve the student's academic skills, involves them in career exploration and in preparation for success in college.

Huebner believes that programs such as the GEAR-UP program are important to pique students' interests about college early in their academic career.

"Because of programs like this one and others that we offer, we are experiencing an increase in the number of American Indian students attending college and graduating."