Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

GEAR UP Kentucky honors students, outstanding educators of the year

April 22, 2024

Pictured are the 2023-24 GEAR UP Kentucky Students of the Year. Front row (L-R): Jaycelyn Pearson, Frankfort High School; Zehkiah Griffin, Paris High School; Kendra Hess, Pendleton County High School; Kim Welch, GEAR UP Kentucky executive director. Back row (L-R): Karson Tolle, Bath County High School; Sammy Bragg, Mercer County Senior High School; Jessica Denkins, Robertson County School; Kiera Isaacs, Fleming County High School; Gauge Scarborough, Augusta Independent School; Andrew Mattingly, Marion County High School; Madolynn Morgan, Bourbon County High School. Not pictured: Haidy Hernandez Ambrocio, Holmes High School; Layla Crews-Taylor, Mason County High School.

GEAR UP Kentucky (GUK) 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 2023-24 GEAR UP Kentucky Students of the Year for their schools:

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

The following local educators have been named as 2023-24 GEAR UP Kentucky Outstanding Educators of the Year for their schools:

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:

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 about GEAR UP Kentucky, visit

Last Updated: 4/24/2024