RAPID CITY, S.D. (July 2, 2013) - The SD GEARUP Summer Honors Program will conduct graduation and closing ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, in the King Center at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. American Indian students representing eight reservations and urban areas in South Dakota will participate in the recognition and graduation event. Stacy Phelps, SD GEARUP Summer Honors Project Coordinator and member of the National Advisory Council on American Indian Education, will moderate the ceremonies and address the students and families.
Approximately 300 high school students took part in the SD GEAR UP Summer Honors program that began on June 1 on the School of Mines campus. The honor student sessions take place over six weeks. The students participate in challenging classes in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Along with the classes, students toured various area business locations and cultural centers. The students conducted a five-week water restoration and research project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Oglala, S.D. The results of the water studies are shared with parks departments on the reservation.
SD GEARUP and the School of Mines partnered with the UNITE program to offer rigorous science programs to the eleventh-grade students. UNITE is a four-to-six-week, pre-collegiate summer program for talented high school students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The SD GEARUP/UNITE program presented classes in manned and unmanned aviation vehicles, submersibles and a math course called "Measuring the Immeasurable".
The GEARUP Program is always evolving and evaluating best new practices in the education field. The PAST Foundation from Ohio worked with the students using an education model called "Place Based Learning". The group taught four-day modules on forensics, entomology, and art in STEM. The work from these classes will be on display during the closing ceremonies.
To encourage the students to consider opportunities in higher education in South Dakota, the SD GEARUP program provides a week-long tour of public South Dakota Universities for students entering the twelfth grade. Of the students who participate in four consecutive summer sessions of GEARUP, 100 percent graduate high school with 87 percent going on to college and 9 percent to the military.
For more information on the graduation event, call Darla Drew Lerdal at (605) 341-5940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the SD GEARUP program, visit sdgearup.org.