Gear Up: College Prep Program
Gear Up

Gear Up is a statewide project that helps identify and support potential first-time college students. In the summer of 2017, Gear Up brought a group of 22 students to UK to get a feel for what college is like. The program revolved around a course teaching the students how to discuss a problem and employ creative problem solving techniques. It wasn’t the sort of class with a test at the end, it was the sort of class that taught them a process. The problem they were posed was carefully chosen; the teachers wanted the students to be the experts. The challenge was how to rebuild the Gear Up program.


We don’t normally take one-off projects like this, but we were intrigued by the constraints. The class was three weeks long. We shot and edited a video that told a compelling story in time to show to the families of the students at 6 PM on the Friday of pick-up.

The video we produced doesn’t focus on their solutions. We focused on their process. Because that is the real value they get from the course. We wanted to show the students as they were and how they transformed. They were really nervous. Many had never been this far away from home. They were all in uncomfortable situations. They went from barely being able to talk to each other to presenting complex ideas to a group of adults. And they learned skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Big thanks to Ian and James at Kong Productions for all the help bringing this piece together. To learn more about the Gear Up Kentucky program, visit their website at