Concord student named to national leadership academy - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Concord student named to national leadership academy

ATHENS (PRESS RELEASE) – Ronald "Trey" Lockhart, a student at Concord University, has been selected to participate in the inaugural "GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy," (Academy) a 12-month national leadership program providing students across the country with intensive training in civic engagement and community development.

A native of McDowell County, Lockhart was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants made up of students who have graduated from high schools served by the federal GEAR UP program. GEAR UP, which stands for "Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs," works to prepare students from high-need areas to enter and succeed in postsecondary education programs.

Lockhart will travel to Washington, D.C., where he will join the 29 other students forming the Academy's inaugural class for a week-long training program.  The program will teach students skills such as social media advocacy, grassroots civic engagement, and organizational leadership.  He and other members of the Academy will then return home to work with local GEAR UP staff members to increase community engagement, awareness, and support for issues related to college access and success.

Lockhart is a 2012 graduate of River View High School in McDowell County. He is currently pursuing a degree in pre-medicine at Concord University, where he is a member of the Bonner Scholars program. GEAR UP staff members based at Concord nominated him for the Academy because of his dedication to community service and his leadership role with the Reconnecting McDowell initiative, a collaborative effort among numerous community organizations aimed at improving the educational attainment rates of students in McDowell County.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin commended Lockhart's accomplishment and his commitment to education. "I am incredibly proud that a West Virginia student is included within the inaugural class of the national GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy," Tomblin said. "Education is a top priority for the Mountain State, and the GEAR UP program has made tremendous strides in advancing the postsecondary educational opportunities of students throughout southern and central West Virginia. I know Mr. Lockhart will represent our state well, and I am encouraged and inspired by his willingness to serve as a voice for his peers in working to advance educational achievement."

The federal GEAR UP program serves approximately 700,000 students from 43 states and three territories.  The West Virginia GEAR UP program is administered by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and provides college-readiness services to students in 10 high-need counties.

The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy is coordinated by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP). More information about West Virginia GEAR UP is available at  More information about the national GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy can be found at

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