PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Pep rallies often revolve around football, but not this one in East Alabama. The 7th graders at Phenix City Intermediate School got pumped up Friday afternoon about something that many of them will do in six years - go to college, and many of them will be able to do that tuition-free.
This event is part of the "Gear Up" program, designed to make students aware of college opportunities.
Thanks to a $24.5 million dollar federal grant, "Gear Up" is providing a free ride to a 2-year junior college to 9,300 students in Alabama's black belt. That includes the 1,000 current 7th and 8th graders at Phenix City Intermediate School. All they have to do is graduate from high school.
"We don't want our students to think college is a far-fetched dream that might happen. It's a plan and we're going to start planning right now, it's going to happen," said Gear Up Alabama site facilitator David Wilson.
News Leader 9's Jason Dennis was also given the opportunity to speak to the 7th grade crowd at Friday's "Gear Up" pep rally, telling them about the importance of staying in school, and going to college - to help them have success in life.
Gear Up stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.