TAMIU GEAR UP IV Rally to Attract 10,000 Local Regional Students
Posted: 8/30/12

GEAR UP IV Rally to Attract 10,000
with Higher Education Focus

LAREDO -  Almost 10,000 local and regional area eighth and 12th graders will descend on the Laredo Energy Arena, Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the historic offering of the first Student Leadership Conference-GEAR UP IV (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Prep Rally.

The high-energy event, dubbed “Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders,” is designed to help prepare teens become engaged in post-secondary education and the opportunities it provides them to move their lives forward.  

Organizers hope that by encouraging the students to “keep the end in mind,” they will create a highly motivated and educated workforce to sustain the region’s growth for years to come, explained Dr. Rick Moreno, director of the Texas A&M International University GEAR UP IV program, which is presenting the Rally free of charge to participants.

“We believe that ‘Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders’ is the most significant educational event to occur in South Texas that brings the focus of education to the forefront for students and parents, as well as legislators at all levels,” Dr. Moreno said.

“If we are to resolve the employment challenges and build the creative capital needed to fuel our State and country’s economic recovery, we must raise the level of education of the children of South Texas.  We must create sustainable systemic educational reform to provide our children with the academic preparation that will ensure them and Texas a brighter future,” he noted.

Keynoting the event will be Dr. Debra Saunders-White, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.

The day’s program will also include one of the nation’s top motivational speakers and success trainers, Aric Bostick and music by the sensational five-man acapella group MO5AIC (Mosaic).

Invited guests include Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa of The University of Texas System and Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

Students attending will come to Laredo from the following school districts: Alice ISD, Benavides ISD, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD, Carrizo Springs CISD, Cotulla ISD, Crystal City ISD, Dilley ISD, Eagle Pass ISD, Freer ISD, Jim Hogg County ISD (Hebbronville), Laredo ISD, La Joya ISD, La Pryor ISD, Pearsall ISD, Premont ISD, Orange Grove ISD, San Diego ISD, United ISD (Laredo), Webb CISD (Bruni), and Zapata County ISD.  Students from over 35 schools in these school districts will attend.

In addition to guest presentations, students will have an opportunity to meet with representatives of different colleges and universities to explore programs and opportunities available.


The GEAR UP program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.          

TAMIU initiated its first GEAR UP Program in 2000. The Program has been refunded ever since.  In 2011, the Program was awarded approximately $6.3 million for each of its seven years of operation, totaling $42.9 million.  Housed at TAMIU, the GEAR UP IV Program outreach includes 35 schools in 10 counties.

Dr. Julio F. Madrigal is the principal investigator for this grant.

For more on the TAMIU GEAR UP IV program, contact Dr. Rick Moreno, TAMIU’s GEAR UP IV director, at 956.326.2702, email rick.moreno@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the TAMIU Student Center, room 126.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu