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Page students learn valuable lessons about business

Through the GEAR-UP program, seventh grade students from Page School spent the day visiting local businesses throughout Pineville.

“I had a blast with the seventh-graders today,” Page CCN Jonathan Neely said. “GEAR-UP allowed us to go out to the courthouse today learn about the local government.”

The students also got to be a part of what goes on at the courthouse and learning about the day-to-day operations.

“At GEAR-UP we want our kids to be informed citizens one day,” Neely said. “This was a great opportunity for them today.”

The group also stopped by local businesses to learn about their careers and their businesses in Pineville.

“Thank you to Page School and the GEAR-UP program for including Sauced in your career introduction day today,” Sauced Pizza owner Gina Wilson said. “Also, a huge thank you to Ashley Nolan, our wonderful general manager, for taking the time to talk about Sauced and what it takes to keep and operation like our going.”

Wilson said they love talking to the students and hopefully can plant the seeds for some young entrepreneurs to plan for businesses of their own one day.

“We got to hear the stories of how folks right here in our community started their careers,” he explained. “To finish the day, our kids delivered meals to Lighthouse Mission to help feed those in need.”

Neely wanted to give a special thanks to Carla Frederick, Rob Lincks, everyone at Sauced, Debbie Gambrel, Ben Madon and those at Taylor’s Pharmacy for creating such a great experience for the students.

GEAR-UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Earlier this year, Partners for Education at Berea College received $109 million with two new Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs grants.

The funds will help students in 19 Kentucky counties, including Promise Zone counties, prepare for college and receive the support they need to achieve success in postsecondary education.

Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock signed a declaration in September highlighting the services that the GEAR-UP grant officers in all schools across Bell County.

“The Bell County GEAR-UP staff is excited that our judge-executive and local media are took interest in the Gear Up program,” Neely said. “Our mission is to promote success among our students.”

The Kentucky Promise Zone reached its halfway mark for its 10-year commitment in January, and Bell County continues to see positive improvements from the investment.

Bell, Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Leslie, Clay, Knox and part of Whitley County have gained an advantage in applying for federal funds as well as additional assistance from federal agencies that oversee housing, education, economic development, agriculture and safety.

The Kentucky Promise Zone has grown from an original 12 partners to 93, provided more than 400 grant applications with letters of support and identified $729 million in investments that have been announced for the Promise Zone during the next 5 to 7 years.

This is year six of the 10-year grant.