Skip to main content

Granite District Jr. High Student Earns $1,000 For College

Jeannine Huenemann


View as a pdf

GEAR UP and its partners do make a difference in students’ lives. Inspired by GEAR UP Week, a student from Hunter Junior High School in the Granite School District, applied for her first scholarship. She designed a winning bookmark and now she has a 529 college savings account with her scholarship started in her name.

Granite student accepting their award.
Emmaree and her winning my529 bookmark
Students in classroom learning how to pay for college.
Eighth grade students at Hunter Jr. High learned about ways to pay for college
GEAR UP site coordinator assists students with paying for college.
Site Coordinator Ana Palomar with students after the my529 presentation

Hunter Junior High student Emmaree sat with her 8th grade class during the GEAR UP Week activities last September. She and many other students heard Scott Pettett, a my529 representative, talking about their future and the different ways to pay for college. After his presentation in their science class, Pettett handed out applications for the 2019 Make Your Mark Scholarship, along with a mechanical pencil, and a piece of candy for active listening before the students rushed to their next class.

Emmaree took Pettett’s words to heart, and went to work designing a bookmark which was both beautiful and inspirational. At a College and Career Readiness Planning (CCRP) meeting, a school counselor asked her if she knew that she could start applying for scholarships. Her answer was “Yes, I just won $1,000.” This was when the school learned that she was one of two seventh and eighth grade students in the state to win the Make Your Mark Scholarship. As a result, my529 and UtahFutures placed the money in a 529 college savings account for her.

This success story shows that GEAR UP and school partnerships do make a difference in students’ lives. Ana Palomar, site coordinator at Hunter Jr. High, said that it was a very rewarding moment for her and the counseling center when they learned about Emmaree’s scholarship award. As a result, they were able to reach out to my529 and get bookmarks for all the students and teachers at the school, so that they should share in her success, and be inspired.

“Even though sometimes we feel that our activities might not be very meaningful,” says Palomar. “They are, and students are listening.” Her job in the Granite School District allows her to follow these 8th grade students through high school, continuing to help them on their journey towards college-readiness and their future. This story also serves as a reminder that when it comes to planning for college, it is never too early to start looking and applying for scholarship opportunities. Visit our “Paying for College” section of our website for ideas.