5,000 Eighth Graders Begin Their Journey to College

Eighth grade students from across southeastern Kentucky will gather at the Corbin Arena on Wednesday, August 29, for a two-hour college readiness kick-off. Members of the Class of 2017 will celebrate the start of GEAR UP and Berea CFES Scholars programs in their schools. College presidents will show their support through motivational videos, and Berea College President Dr. Lyle Roelofs will welcome the students to the programs. Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Hasan Davis will advise students that adversity can be overcome through hard work and strength of spirit. There will be musical performances by the Hall Pass Tour and Chad Warrix. Students will have the opportunity to meet their 2017 classmates from other schools participating in two national GEAR UP grant programs being implemented by Berea College.

WHO: 5,000 eighth graders from school districts served by Berea College GEAR UP grants who are participating in the CFES Berea Scholars Program; school districts include Berea Community, Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Garrard, Jackson, Jackson Independent, Knott, Knox, Lee, Leslie, Laurel, Madison, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski and Rockcastle County.

WHAT: A two hour kick-off and concert event for eighth grade students participating in the Berea CFES Scholars Program as part of GEAR UP Appalachia! and GEAR UP Promise Neighborhood grants (www.berea.edu/esp/programs.asp).

WHEN: Wednesday, August 29, from 10 a.m. – noon.

WHERE: The Corbin Arena (www.thecorbinarena.com)
500 Arena Drive
Corbin, KY 40701

For security reasons, this event is closed to the public. Please contact Rachel Tsvetanov prior to the event for media access.

WHY: Last year in Kentucky, only 78% of students graduated high school, and only 56% went on to college. This is the first in a series of events emphasizing the importance of higher education and career planning for this group of students. Without intervention, more than 1,000 of these 5,000 students will drop out of high school, and less than half will go on to college. Our goal is for every eighth grader to succeed in postsecondary education and beyond.


This event is a partnership between Berea College, College For Every Student (CFES) and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which sponsors the Stars Over Appalachia program.
This project is paid for by Federal GEAR UP funds. Berea College has been awarded a seven- year GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education (2011- 2018) totaling $149,408,000, divided evenly between federal and non-federal funds.

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Appalachia, CFES, Event, GEAR UP, U.S. Department of Education

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.