Dozens of Tulsa students received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scholarships Thursday. They're part of Tulsa's GEAR UP program and News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims tells us this is a success story six years in the making.
For Ruqayyah Fatihah, joining GEAR UP was a no-brainer. "Someone offers you an opportunity to help you with college why not take it I needed all of the help I could get." GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Basically they encourage local teens to finish high school and go on to college. But Ruqayyah Fatihah says the tutors and mentors do so much more than that. "They honestly believe in us and make us feel needed and important and honestly that I think is the best part."
GEAR UP has worked with many of these kids since they were seventh graders. And now that they're seniors, GEAR UP has worked with several businesses and colleges to offer them thousands of dollars worth of scholarships.
Tulsa Public Schoolsâ€™ GEAR UP director Dr Jilda Motley: "some of them might have been going to college without this program but the majority needed the support and the foundation that Gear Up provides these students."
Ruqayyah Fatihah received another $1,000 scholarship to add to her $11,000 scholarship total. "Honestly even without the scholarships I feel I've learned so much from GEAR UP and taken so much I'm just grateful."
Fatihah is going to take her GEAR UP lessons to the University Oklahoma next fall. She wants to work for NASA one day. GEAR UP started with 1,100 students six years ago. Now more than 500 are graduating, many with scholarship dollars in their pockets.