GEAR UP for laughs, college as comedians travel to high schools


Rusty DeWees, aka The Logger, and Cindy Pierce, well-known comic storyteller, will bring their humor and wisdom to nearly 20 Vermont schools as part of Vermont’s participation in National GEAR UP Week, Sept. 22-26.

Cindy Pierce. Photo by Kirkland Productions.

Cindy Pierce. Photo by Kirkland Productions.

“Rusty and Cindy will put their unique humorous twist on the issues teens grapple with as they prepare for what comes after high school,” said Dianne Griggs, GEAR UP manager at Vermont Student Assistance Corp. “Their own life experiences are sure to make an impression on how students view their own passions, opportunities and choices both in and out of school.”

Pierce, an innkeeper in Etna, N.H. and mother of three teenagers, keeps her skills sharp – and hilarious – with stories about finding the way through everyday life.  “I believe that information is power. With humor and honesty, I hope to give kids some tools and information to help them find focus and withstand inevitable speed bumps while navigating life,” says Pierce.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, Pierce will visit grades 9 through 12 of Green Mountain Union High School and Black River High, both at Green Mountain High in Chester, and those of Springfield High School.

Pierce will also be visiting Blue Mountain and Cabot.

Rusty DeWees

Rusty DeWees. DeWees photo.

DeWees is a household name to Vermonters, celebrating all that makes rural Vermont and its people so cherished. The Stowe High School graduate earned a degree from Champlain College before heading off to a career of acting, writing, music and comedy.

DeWees will be visiting Richford, Troy, Lowell, Albany, Irasburg, Coventry, Barton, Orleans, Brownington, Charleston, Brighton and North Country.

“Young Vermont students are an alert, focused and engaging lot,” said DeWees. “That’s what I’ve found when presenting to them … always. My GEAR UP presentation is not only for students – parents will be invited to share the evening presentations with their kids. That’s smart. I love Vermont. Working with GEAR UP to gear up young Vermonters and their parents for education beyond high school is a worthy effort. We’ll all learn and have fun. No joke.”

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal grant program of the U.S. Department of Education designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. In Vermont, VSAC’s GEAR UP outreach counselors work with more than 3,200 middle and high school students one-on-one and in small groups in 54 select schools across the state. GEAR UP also provides support to parents, which includes high school and college planning information, assistance with college and financial aid applications, and career planning information for their children.

In addition to the academic and career programming, when these GEAR UP students continue their education after high school, they will receive an annual $2,000 scholarship for up to four years of schooling.

In support of GEAR UP schools, GEAR UP provides professional development opportunities to faculty, staff and administration, and provides resources that support school improvement initiatives.

Connect with VSAC at or on Facebook at

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Filed Under: Education News

About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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