Lafayette GEAR UP Alumni
The Lafayette Parish School System first received a GEAR UP award in 2008. Working with a cohort of approximately 2,500 students, GEAR UP staff tagged, monitored, and supported these students until their graduation years in 2014 & 2015. Those students, now identified as GEAR UP Alumni are currently enrolled in universities and colleges across the state of Louisiana and in several other states. Our goal is that GEAR UP Alumni will act as near peer mentors for our current cohort and work with GEAR UP to highlight the process and planning required to prepare for postsecondary education.
GUALA: The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy
The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) is an initiative launched by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships with support from the national GEAR UP community and funding from The Kresge Foundation.
Designed to strengthen the individual leadership and advocacy skills of GEAR UP alumni, deemed Alumni Leaders, GUALA is a dynamic, innovative resource for the national GEAR UP community.
GUALA uses training, webinars, skill-building, and interaction with local, state, and national decision-makers to develop future leaders with the skills, vision, and commitment to enrich the entire GEAR UP community.
After an intensive, week-long training (June 12-18, 2016) held in Washington, D.C., Alumni Leaders commit to contribute approximately 10 hours of community service each month that benefit local, state, and/or national GEAR UP.
With an emphasis on service learning, GUALA encourages Alumni Leaders and their GUALA Coach to co-create meaningful community service opportunities throughout the program year that:
Inform Policy Makers
- Inspire Near Peers
- Strengthen Their GEAR UP Community
Lafayette GEAR UP is proud to have had 3 students selected to serve as GUALAs.
Jakeyla Chavis was selected to serve on the 2015-2016 GUALA Class. Jakeyla is a junior attending Louisiana State University, majoring in Mass Communications. Jakeyla is a graduate of Northside High School. During her tenure as a GEAR UP student, Jakeyla served as a GEAR UP Ambassador, participated in various GEAR UP activities and events, and acted as an emcee for several GEAR UP exhibitions and competitions.
Jamila Dugas was selected to serve on the 2016-2017 GUALA Class. Jamila is a junior attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, majoring in Mass Communications. Jamila is a graduate of Northside High School. She served as a GEAR UP Ambassador, participated in many GEAR UP sponsored events, and has appeared in several promotional videos highlighting GEAR UP’s efforts.
Calvin Griffin was selected to serve on the 2016-2017 GUALA Class. Calvin is a sophomore attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, majoring in Business Administration. Calvin is a graduate of Comeaux High School, where he graduated at the top of his class. Calvin’s involvement in GEAR UP was mostly STEM focused. He was a member of the math team and robotics team in middle and high school. Calvin also participated in civic events through his involvement with GEAR UP.