GEAR UP Maine Bulletin
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June, 2016


GEAR UP Maine staff

Here is what we have included this month

(Don't forget to click "view entire message" at the bottom of this email to view all of our updates)

Bulletin Highlights
  • GEAR UP Maine staff spotlight - Sylvia Thistle
  • GEAR UP Superintendent completes Leadership Institute
  • Mountain Valley Middle School goes to college
  • Carrabec Career Fair
  • Resource of the Month -
  • GEAR UP Maine Partner highlight - Northern Maine Community College
  • Summer Experience - Know of one? Contact us!
 Check out our public facing website here for the following information
Share your GEAR UP successes and challenges with us to share in Bulletins to come! Email

The GEAR UP  Maine Staff

Grant Must Do's
June Must Do's
  • Data Closeout (Advance students in data management system)
  • Year 3 Finalized Action Plans Due June 17th 
  • Submit invoices (via GEM up to June 20th)
  • Document where students intend to enroll in post-secondary 
July Must Do's
  • Document activities completed
  • Submit invoices into new system (more information to come)

Get to Know Your GEAR UP Maine Staff

Sylvia Thistle
Office Assistant

1.) The book I could read a hundred times over: 
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2.) I would love to travel back to: Paris or the South of France. It's my favorite place in the world!

3.) When I'm not working I'm:  Volunteering in my grandson's classroom, playing golf, or fly fishing.

Sylvia received a M.ED from the University of Maine at Orono and has twenty seven years of teaching experience. She is a retired social studies teacher and team leader from Skowhegan Area Middle School. For the last three years, she has worked in retail at Edgecomb Potters. She brings energy, organization, and people skills to her part time office assistant role at Syntiro. Sylvia lives in Skowhegan and enjoys golf, fly fishing, and skiing -- her real passion, however, is interior decorating and working at her home.
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What's Happening
GEAR UP Maine Superintendent completes NCCEP's Superintendent Leadership Institute
GEAR UP Maine is so proud of RSU 37 Superintendent Ronald Ramsey! Ron has just completed a year-long, GEAR UP  Superintendent Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Council of Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP). Ronald and about 30 other superintendents from across the country— from Maine, Texas, Washington, to Oklahoma and Michigan (to name but a few)-- were joined in a learning community where they shared their district/state level leadership goals and provided feedback and support to their fellow colleagues.  Ronald created an awesome GEAR UP elevator speech about his role as superintendent in Down East Maine… and I am sure that he would be tickled to share that with you! GEAR UP Maine has decided to sponsor two additional superintendents— Tim Doak from Caribou and Sue Pratt from Kingfield- to join Ronald in creating a vision and plan for expanding the vision of GEAR UP across Maine. All three superintendents will meet in Washington, DC in July to begin their shared leadership journey for Maine schools.  So stay tuned for great things to come!
Mountain Valley Middle School Goes to College
Mountain Valley Middle School students went on a potentially life-changing adventure on Thursday, May 26, 2016. For the first time ever, the entire student body and staff went on a college tour. They spent the day visiting the University of Maine-Farmington. The mission was for students to get a real taste of what college life is like, while experiencing a great, nationally acknowledged campus that is local. The day was sponsored in part by GEAR UP.

Students had a blast exploring campus! Highlights included the Mt. Blue Art Show in the UMF Art Gallery, the incredible resources at the Mantor Library, and the cool living facilities in the Scott South Residence Hall. Great fun was had by all in the Health and Fitness Center where students exhibited joyful exuberance as they swam and played on the courts.

UMF’s admissions representatives shared a wealth of information about what it takes to be successful as a first generation college student. They shared personal experiences of overcoming financial challenges and finding ways to pay for college with scholarships, grants, and loans. 

Stephen Davis, a Career Counselor on campus, talked with students about the many supports available to help them be successful at UMF. He shared his experiences in helping students overcome obstacles, and fulfill their dream of attending and graduating from college.

Michael Lorusso talked with students about the many opportunities for students to be socially involved in campus life, explaining fun activities and clubs.

Eleni Margoronis, The GEAR UP regional coordinator was on hand to greet students when they arrived at UMF. She talked with students about the many post high school training opportunities in Maine. 

Students devoured pizza, salad, and delicious desserts in the cafeteria. According to students, the mission was definitely successful as quoted by Matt Miles who said “UMF is awesome!”

Article written by Lisa Drapeau, Mountain Valley High School Teacher
Carrabec High School Career Fair
There are so many careers out there; someone can be a marine biologist swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, or running a big company that they started up themselves. The possibilities are endless, but picking one of those possibilities is sometimes really hard. Carrabec High School had their first career day on Friday April 15th which helped many students explore those possibilities on what they want to do in the future; thanks to Tracie Edwards from Gear-Up and Tim Richards, Vice Principal of Carrabec High School.

Students found interesting to see different people present, and to see how passionate they were about their careers. The keynote speaker, Tim Edwards, the Chief Academic Officer of Thomas College, helped spark a conversation of what college is like and the experiences a person will have, and what might help guide them on their job quest. His address inspired me to explore different careers and majors,to see what a person could end up doing. 

As a senior in high school, and very close to graduation, I wish I had time to explore more in majors, and career possibilities. The career presentations I thought were interesting were the food service, cosmetology, and veterinarian/ pet care.

The other thing that I thought is important is choosing a career that you’re passionate about, and one that a person looks forward to doing. If someone chooses a career they don’t like, then it’s a waste of time for the company and the employee’s well being. When I was in the classroom watching the slides of colorful descriptions on what presenters did and how passionate they were, it made me think of the things I am passionate about. Passion goes a long way when it comes to choosing a career; it’s not all about the salary.

Career day was a great experience to have my last year of high school, again I wish our school had had more opportunities for a career day in the past, but I think this will be the first of many. The event is a good way to inspire many students to consider what they want to do, and also to find their passion they want to pursue in the future. Career opportunities are endless. A person needs to be open-minded and work hard like the wonderful presenters that the whole school had a chance to meet. 

Article written by Bianca Beaulieu, 2016 Carrabec HS Graduate
Resource of the Month
CollegeTimes publishes advice for millennials on applying to college, planning a career, taking online courses, personal finance, and entrepreneurism.
Northern Maine Community College
Northern Maine Community College provides career and transfer programs that lead to associate degrees or certificates. The students served have an opportunity to develop as individuals and to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for employment or for transfer to a senior college or university. The college assists in economic and human resource development by offering programs of study, courses or seminars to employed individuals, specialized training to attract business and industry, and various community interest courses or seminars. Visit for more information
Summer Experience
Know of any Summer Experience opportunities in your area that high school students are able to: 
   ~ live on a college campus & experience life in a dorm with a roommate,
   ~ take academic course work, and;
   ~ participate in the social life on campus.

GEAR UP Maine is looking to help fund a summer experience for 2 GU students from each of the GEAR UP High Schools, summer 2016!

View our list we've put together of 2016 Summer Opportunities we know about 

Please contact Corda Ladd Kinzie at for more information.
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