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Exceptional students honored

PABLO — Students and their families packed the cafeteria of the Joe McDonald building on the Salish and Kootenai College campus for the Upward Bound and Gear Up reception last Wednesday.

The reception honored those students involved in the college preparatory programs and those who have achieved academic success in various educational endeavors.

“The reason why the programs are so successful is because these people spend so much one on one time with the kids and support them in who they want to be,” Upward Bound and GEAR UP Grant Director Heather Licht said.

The people Licht is referring to are the Upward Bound and Gear Up instructors, Sandra Dubruin, Aric Cooksley, Joanne Morrow, Rhiannon Liberty and Zoe Lilja.

The instructors work with the high school students in the multi-faceted program, that is a combination of tutoring, mentoring and cultural enrichment. The program, which is funded by a federal grant, also provides students with information on financial aid for college and information on different career opportunities.

Cooksley, who works with Upward Bound, explained that the program gives the students the opportunity to visit colleges and this year they will even take a summer trip to Washington. 

“The program gives them a chance to see what life is like outside of here,” Cooksley said. “And in addition, it gives them an opportunity to be more successful long term.”

After the attendees had loaded up their plates with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and cupcakes, the audience listened to a touching honor drum song by a group called Montana Nights.

Following the drum song, the Ronan High School Robotics team was the first to be recognized. The team showed a video presentation of the state robotics competition and demonstrated the amazing capabilities of their robot.

Members of Big Brothers Big Sisters were also honored for their work mentoring younger children as well as students who participated in community service. 

Students in the Salish language program at Ronan High School were recognized for their achievement in the language.

The grand prize winner of the Art and Essay Contest was Andrew Crenshaw who won a laptop for a video he made on where he would like to be in the year 2020. 

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