PHILADELPHIA, June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02) , architect of GEAR UP, the nation's most successful college readiness and awareness program for low-income students, will keynote the high school transition program for seventh and eighth grade students and their parents Saturday, June 11 at Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia.
The speech marks Fattah's third appearance within eight days – in three states – on behalf of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which he developed and guided to passage in Congress in 1998. He also discussed GEAR UP during a June 8 interview with Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC as part of its "Education Nation" programming from Philadelphia.
"With GEAR UP we have created a college-going culture among young people who never thought they could take that next critical step in education," Fattah says in describing the program. "When we help young people achieve their potential we are helping to keep the United States number one in the world.
"Make no mistake, to compete in the global economy we must use every resource, and that means every young person who might have been written off," he said. "With GEAR UP we are writing these young people back in for our nation's advancement."
Since 1998 GEAR UP, which offers counseling, academic preparation and inspiration for students starting in the sixth grade who might otherwise not even consider college, has provided assistance to 12 million young people in 49 states, with an investment of almost $3 billion in federal resources.
On June 11, seventh and eighth graders and their parents from 27 junior high and middle schools feeding into eight GEAR UP-participating high schools in the School District of Philadelphia will attend a half day program at Benjamin Franklin High School, 550 N. Broad Street.
Congressman Fattah will be addressing students and their parents about the importance of high school academic success and the need to focus on preparing to continue their education to the college level. He is also expected to congratulate winners of the GEAR UP Achievement Award, three students from each participating middle school. The students at Saturday's program are bound for Edison, Ben Franklin, Vaux, Frankford, University City, South Philadelphia, Roxborough and Lincoln High Schools.
The Congressman is continuing his practice of meeting with and addressing GEAR UP students in Philadelphia and across the nation.
On June 3, Fattah addressed graduation ceremonies honoring GEAR UP students at Fairmont Heights High School in Prince Georges County, Maryland. On June 7, he traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and met with student leaders representing 1,400 GEAR UP students from the city's three high schools. That session took place in the office of Bridgeport's mayor.
"To really make a difference in a child's life," Fattah said, "we must instill in them the unwavering belief that if they dare to dream, if they work hard, we will ensure they have the resources and then they will be able to go to college. That's what GEAR UP is all about."