Off-Canvas

GEAR UP Success Stories

Brendan Swihart

Harding senior Brendan Swihart is February's GEAR UP Success story.

Activities Involved in: Bowling, National Honors Society, Student Council, Choir

What is your plan for the future? I would like to attend Bowling Green State University to major in Criminal Justice and eventually be a part of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

What/who has been the biggest influence on your plan for the future? If anything, television. I want a job that pays good but where I also don't do the same thing day in and day out and I've always wanted to enforce the law.

What is one of the best things about being a student at Harding High School? The gear up program keeps my nerves at ease when I'm doing college stuff and also the staff. I hardly ever see any teacher that comes to school in a bad mood or any teacher that stays in a bad mood during the day because the environment is so well-kept.

How is GEAR UP helping you with your plan for the future? Gear up reminds me about scholarships and helps me fill them out and they also assisted me in filling out college and FAFSA applications. They are also sort of my counselors and I'm comfortable speaking to them about anything.

Find out more about GEAR UP at Marion City Schools

Shelbi Martin

Harding senior Shelbi Martin is GEAR UP's January success story.

Activities Involved in: Basketball cheer, football cheer, marching band, show choir, symphonic choir, symphonic band, stardusters, teen institute, key club, and musicals

What is your plan for the future? Attend the University of Toledo to obtain a degree in cosmetic science and then go to beauty school at Aveda Institute to become a licensed esthetician. I would then maybe make my own makeup line.

What/who has been the biggest influence on your plan for the future? The first time I got my eyebrows waxed I became obsessed. I started asking the lady who does my eyebrows questions about how she started her career and that's when she told me about Aveda Beauty School. I've always loved playing with make-up.

What is one of the best things about being a student at Harding High School? The opportunities we have available not only during high school, but after high school as well. The staff is great and I feel like all of my teachers want me to succeed and we have pretty decent food for lunch.

How is GEAR UP helping you with your plan for the future? They keep me on task to keep up with deadlines. They have helped me sign up for the ACT. Any questions I have asked they are always happy to answer and if they don't know the answer they always find it and get right back to me. They care about my future and success and do anything they can to help me take the next step in my future.


The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) at Marion City Schools program is dedicated to supporting early college preparation and awareness. Its purpose is to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

The federally funded program is designed to work with Marion City Schools' students in grades 7th through 12th to support early college preparation and awareness. It does so through academic, career and culturally woven events and activities including tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education, and college scholarships.

Learn more about GEAR UP on our website.

Dan Rollins, Harding student

Harding senior Dan Rollins is GEAR UP's December success story.

Activities Involved in: Comedy Club, Robotics, Musical, Symphonic Choir, Crochet Club, Golf, National Honor Society, Orchestra

What is your plan for the future? Major in Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University

What/who has been the biggest influence on your plan for the future? My comedy mentor, Mr. Mike Seymour

What is one of the best things about being a student at Harding High School? The many opportunities to succeed.

How is GEAR UP helping you with your plan for the future? GEAR UP helped me organize, apply for, and finance my trip to Stone Lab, where I took a college ornithology course at OSU's research center on Gibraltar Island on Lake Erie.

Diamond Growney

Year in School: Senior

Activities Involved in: Harding Herald, Quiver

What is your plan for the future? Major in Broadcast Journalism, with a specialization in sports.

What/who has been the biggest influence on your plan for the future? Mr. Bob Bender. That man has inspired me to be the best journalist I could possibly be.

What is one of the best things about being a student at Harding High School? The helpfulness of the staff and inclusion of technology. Without that life would be a whole lot tougher.

How is GEAR UP helping you with your plan for the future? GEAR UP has helped me by guiding me throughout my high school career, giving me opportunities to visit colleges I would never think about applying to. They have also helped me with my application and been an absolute blessing to me. GEAR UP is continuing to help me by guiding me through FAFSA and other scholarship opportunities.

Marlena Stimson

GEAR UP at Marion City Schools announces a monthly success story focusing on students that GEAR UP serves. September's success story is senior Marlena Stimson.

Activities Involved in: Soccer, symphonic choir, orchestra, youth group, Young Life, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy

What is your plan for the future? I want to go to Ohio Christian University to play soccer and major in Education

What/who has been the biggest influence on your plan for the future? My family, my school and God

What is one of the best things about being a student at Harding High School? There are so many opportunities to be involved in activities. Whether its sports, music, academics, leadership, or all of the above. It's amazing to be able to be a part of more than one activity at a time.

How is GEAR UP helping you with your plan for the future? They gave me the great opportunity to travel to San Francisco, California this past summer to represent Ohio at the NCCEP Youth Leadership Summit. There, I learned a ton about storytelling, overcoming fears, and becoming future-proof. I also met a bunch of great friends from all across the country. It was an amazing experience and it has helped me to become more confident in meeting new people and to not be afraid of the future.

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