13th Annual Madison GEAR UP/EIP Annual
Celebrating Future Leaders
become as smart as you want to be. In this model, all of us have the potential to become smart. It’s no longer a world of some
young people becoming smart and some young people not becoming smart. That message is based on the view that if each of you
applies effort in constructive was that the sky is unlimited for you.”
In the view of Brian Wilson Jr., interim precollege coordinator at UW-Platteville, the GEAR UP graduates are the leaders of
tomorrow because they have already faced much adversity and have succeeded.
“I can see future doctors and lawyers and CPAs and accountants,” Wilson said. “The children of today are tomorrow’s leaders.
When this program concludes tonight, you are going to walk out this door, you are going to go to the next phase of your life. You are
going to be taking those next big steps and wondering what you are going to be when you grow up. What do I want my children to
say? My mom was this and my dad was that.’ Are you going to go live in another country or be the head of a major corporation that
is going to make several billions of dollars? And then you can come back and say that you were inspired by what I did with the
GEAR UP Program.”
Wilson noted several characteristics of leaders including good communication skills and being able to challenge fixed notions on
how things are done. But one of the most important characteristic was being empowered to get things done.
” High action levels have a ‘do it now’ sense of time,” Wilson emphasized. “You have to have a do it now, can do attitude. As a
leader, you are going to be taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you, when you forge out there and you take
advantage and you do it now, you are going to go a long way. A lot of people say, ‘I wish I could do this.’ But you have to
materialize something. If you want a bachelor’s degree, you can apply on line. If you need to get some funds together for the
application fees, you’ll be working with counselors and you need to be touring campuses. You need to pick out the places that you
want to go to. Action is real. Put one foot out in front of the other and really take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of
In closing, Wilson reminded the students of their responsibility for each other and the community.
“I would like to leave each and every one of you with the Oneida Nation’s Seven Generation Philosophy,” Wilson said. “Everything
that we do today, every decision that we make, every person that we come in contact with, everything that we do, we must think of
how this going to affect my family, my community seven generations from now.”
The GEAR UP graduates are ready to assume their responsibilities as they move to the next level.
Photos: The GEAR UP/EIP Program honored students from
O’Keeffe, Blackhawk and Sherman Middle Schools and
East High School who met program goals. They also
honored the graduating seniors as well as parent
volunteers who helped with trips and events.
By Jonathan Gramling
The beauty of a GEAR UP/EIP Program celebration is the level
of hope that fills the room. GEAR UP is designed to assist first
generation students who have not traditionally been
represented in higher education a chance to dream about their
future careers and gives them the level of exposure to higher
education resources that they need to fulfill those dreams.
These are students whom some may not have thought to be
college material, but at the 13th Annual GEAR UP/EIP
Recognition held May 10 at the Lowell Center, it was evident
that most of the graduating high school seniors are college
“Programs like this give witness to the idea that smart is
something that you can choose to be,” said MMSD
Superintendant DanielNerad. “And I believe and I want all of
you to believe that each of you have the wonderful potential to
become as smart as you want to be. What then is the
difference between those who truly become smart and those
who don’t apply and reach their potential? And I think there is
an answer to that question. And the answer is that the way to
become smart is to work hard. It’s a concept that is called