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FARMINGTON — DeYonna Gruber, a 2013 Shiprock High School graduate, will represent GEAR UP New Mexico at a leadership academy June 12 to 18 in Washington, D.C.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal grant program that aims to increase the number of low-income students who graduate high school and go on to college.

Gruber and 2012 Grants High School graduate Graham Unverzagt were nominated for the leadership academy by their GEAR UP programs in Shiprock and Grants, according to a press release from GEAR UP.

The two students, both juniors at UNM, were then chosen by the National Council of Community and Education Partnerships to attend the academy.

The academy offers an "intensive, weeklong training to learn public speaking, peer outreach and leadership skills," the release states.

"I hope to learn new leadership skills that can benefit the communities in my state," Gruber said in the press release. "GEAR UP opened doors for me and helped me realize that college was a possibility for me."

Gruber, who is studying nursing, works as a patient technician at UNM Hospital.

Thirty participants nationwide are chosen for the academy each year.

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