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JCHS Mentor Program Hoping To Boost Success After Grad

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
JCHS Mentor Program Hoping To Boost Success After Grad

Jackson County High School has added another tool to its GEAR UP program this school year.

GEAR UP is designed to help prepare low-income students for an education after high school. GEAR UP coordinator Gary Flynn said this semester they’ve had Jackson County High School graduates help mentor sophomores.

“We want them to see that people from Jackson County High School can be successful,” Flynn said. “Just because they come from a poor background sometimes, it doesn’t limit opportunities like maybe they think it does. We try to show them all the opportunities out there and help them get through a door that they might think’s closed.”

Flynn said professionals like doctors and farmers have taken part in the mentoring. He said the same core of 30 sophomores have been in this program since the 8th grade.

“We’ve identified through different testing and whatnot that are kind of on the fence about what they’re going to do when they get out of high school,” Flynn said. “Whether it be go to college or just go straight to work or really don’t know. So we use these mentors to try to push them to where they want to be. We don’t want to make their mind up for them, we want them to be successful.”

Flynn said they will continue tracking these students after graduation to see which education or career path the students chose to follow. However, He said this program ends when these sophomores graduate.

“It’s been really good for this group for sure,” Flynn said. “And we’re hoping to maintain some of the things that we do now, whether we get the grant or not, after that. We hope some of the things we put in place will still work.”

Flynn said Jackson and Overton Counties are the only counties in the Upper Cumberland with this program. He said the most common college route for Jackson County students are TCAT, Volunteer State and Tennessee Tech.


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