GEAR UP Kentucky recognized its students and outstanding educators of the year during the GEAR UP Kentucky Institute for a College-Going Culture hosted at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center in Lexington on April 15.

The following local students have been named as 2023-2024 GEAR UP Kentucky Students of the Year for their schools:

  • Gauge Scarborough – Junior, Augusta Independent School;
  • Karson Tolle – Sophomore, Bath County High School;
  • Madolynn Morgan – Junior, Bourbon County High School;
  • Kiera Isaacs – Junior, Fleming County High School;
  • Jaycelyn Pearson – Sophomore, Frankfort High School;
  • Haidy Hernandez Ambrocio – Sophomore, Holmes High School;
  • Andrew Mattingly – Sophomore, Marion County High School;
  • Layla Crews-Taylor – Junior, Mason County High School;
  • Sammy Bragg – Sophomore, Mercer County Senior High School;
  • Zehkiah Griffin – Junior, Paris High School;
  • Kendra Hess – Junior, Pendleton County High School; and
  • Jessica Denkins – Junior, Robertson Independent School

In order to be recognized as their school’s GUK Student of the Year, each of these students had to: serve as a GEAR UP Kentucky student ambassador; be in good academic standing; consistently demonstrate positive leadership at school, in GEAR UP Kentucky activities and amongst their peers; and commit to assisting with recruitment and leadership of the GEAR UP Kentucky student ambassadors at their schools next year.

The following local educators have been named as 2023-2024 GEAR UP Kentucky Outstanding Educators of the Year for their schools:

  • Brandi Brewer, Director of counseling, instruction and food service, Augusta Independent School;
  • Seth Thatcher, English teacher, Bath County High School;
  • Michelle Patrick, Health sciences teacher, Bourbon County High School;
  • Tara McCord, Financial officer, Fleming County High School;
  • Kim Proffitt, School counselor, Frankfort High School;
  • Jarrett Spisak, Community coordinator, Holmes High School;
  • Troy Costisick, English teacher, Marion County High School;
  • Brooke Sparks, English teacher, Mason County High School;
  • Graham Heasley, Social studies teacher, Mercer County Senior High School;
  • Shane Norris, Agricultural science teacher, Paris High School;
  • Kim Bowen, English and technology resource teacher, Pendleton County High School; and
  • Timothy Miller, History and psychology teacher, Robertson County School.

These individuals were selected as GUK Outstanding Educators because they make significant, positive impacts on students and actively support the mission and vision of GUK in their schools.

Additionally, three high schools were recognized as GEAR UP Kentucky College Application Campaign Champions:

  • Augusta Independent School, for highest total percentage of students completing at least one application and most improved college rate over the previous year;
  • Marion County High School, for highest total number of students completing at least one application; and
  • Paris High School, for most improved college rate over the previous year (tied with Augusta Independent School).

GUK is a federally funded grant program administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education that provides services to students and families in 12 Kentucky school districts and nine partner Kentucky postsecondary institutions. The mission of GUK is to increase the number of students in low-income Kentucky communities who are ready to successfully transition to and through postsecondary education.

For more information, visit the GEAR UP Kentucky website.