UNLV Celebrates National TRIO/GEAR UP Day

News | May 2016 | by Danielle Gross, Business Administration Analyst

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Elected officials, community partners, UNLV and Clark County School District (CCSD) administrators, as well as students and families came together on February 27, 2016 to celebrate the achievements of TRIO and GEAR UP participants, both past and present. Shortly after 5 pm, the Amazon Ballroom at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino was filled to capacity by nearly 1,200 people, the largest attendance in the history of the event.

Among those in attendance were Dr. Linda Young, Patrice Tew, Chris Garvey, Kevin L. Child (CCSD trustees), Cedric Crear, Sam Lieberman, Allison Stephens (NSHE regents), Mark Alden (former NSHE regent), Dr. Juanita Fain (UNLV vice president for student affairs, Fred Tredup (UNLV chief of staff), Carl Reiber (UNLV senior vice provost), as well as several principals from CCSD middle and high schools.

TRIO/GEAR UP Day is proclaimed by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Day of Service. A video presentation and slideshow prior to the event’s opening showcased numerous pictures of TRIO and GEAR UP participants and staff volunteering in the community throughout the year. Events included: decorating and setting up Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest, sorting gently used donations for Three Square, GEAR UP staff volunteering at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, as well as Upward Bound students and staff assisting with the setup of UNLV Festival of Communities and Greenfest. Additional efforts included feeding the homeless, hosting literacy nights, acting as mentors for at-risk youth, among many other community events. Mr. Keith Rogers, deputy executive director, referenced the slideshow presentation proudly stating that although TRIO/GEAR UP Day is a day of service, UNLV TRIO and GEAR UP programs serve the community continuously throughout the year.

The mistress of ceremonies Maria Silva, news anchor, reporter, and producer from KVVU Fox 5, began her welcome by stating that she looks forward to attending the TRIO/GEAR UP Day event each year and praised The Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (The Center) for hosting the event. She also offered her congratulations to those who participated in and completed TRIO/GEAR UP programs. These programs help low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to overcome physical, social, cultural and academic barriers. “The Center houses the largest suite of federally funded (fifteen TRIO and three GEAR UP) programs in the nation,” said Dr. Juanita P. Fain. “Under the leadership of Dr. William W. Sullivan, The Center provides exceptional services to more than 29,000 students in Southern Nevada.”

The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce received the prestigious Educational Pioneer Award for its community efforts and supporting low-income and first-generation students who seek to obtain a higher education degree. The Foundation for Recovery and The Legacy Project received community partner awards. Two GEAR UP participants and five TRIO alumni were honored for their accomplishments during the event. The audience listened as the honorees shared their stories on how the TRIO and GEAR UP programs positively changed their lives and their futures. The GEAR UP achievers were Sebastian Cardenas-Lopez and Samuel Anaya. The TRIO honorees were Dr. Kristopher Buchanan (McNair alumnus), Karen Chan (SSS alumna), Dereka Hendon (UB alumna), Rozzele Cruz (ETS alumna), and Lazara Ortega-Gonzalez (AES alumna). The next annual TRIO/GEAR UP Day Celebration is scheduled for Saturday February 25, 2017, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

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