190506 WSU Gear Up winners.jpg

John Sager Middle Tiana Tran, right, placed first in the regional 2019 WSU GEAR UP Career Showcase on April 26. Hector Miguel Garcia Lopez, left, an eighth-grader at Prescott Middle School, was second runner-up.

Tiana Tran competed with 12 other Washington State University GEAR UP eighth-graders in the region and won the 2019 career showcase. 

Each middle school selected a student to represent them as top presenters at the April 26 event on the WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland. 

Tiana “represented WSU GEAR UP and John Sager Middle School with poise, ambition and enthusiasm,” according to a release.  

As first-place winner, she received a Chromebook, TI Inspire calculator, backpack and WSU swag, according to a release. 

Hector Miguel Garcia Lopez, a Prescott Middle School student, was second runner-up.

Other area students who presented at the showcase are Emmali Johnson, Pioneer Middle School; Celia Acevedo, Dayton Middle School, Bryan Orozco, Touchet Middle School, and Emerson Schulke, Garrison Middle School.

About 600 area eighth-graders previously attended a morning of career exploration on March 25, hosted by Walla Walla Community College and GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. 

Sager, Pioneer, Garrison, Prescott, Touchet and Dayton middle schoolers looked into careers, educational pathways and vocational education with area business leaders during the Career Day event. 

They rotated through three unique presentations chosen for them based on their personal career interests. 

“This was a major deal for all of the local middle schools and the top presenters from each school went on to compete in the regional Career Showcase at WSU Tri-Cities,” emailed Anabrenda Blethen, WSU GEAR UP site manager for College Place High School/John Sager.

Sager eighth-graders participated in a GEAR UP Career project in English class that culminated top 10 career showcases. GEAR UP held an in-house presentation open to families and judges present chose Tiana as top presenter for her talk on becoming a family physician. 

Anabrenda said Becky Waggoner-Schwartz coordinated Career Day with WWCC, Sager English teacher Carol Saari shared class time with GEAR UP to research careers and to WSU GEAR UP academic specialist Jordan Breithaupt led the in-class career showcase project. As site manager, Anabrenda facilitated, funded, managed, supported and advocated for the GEAR UP program.  

“This was an amazing experience,” she said.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313. 

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,

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