For years, America’s finest higher education institutions have routinely struggled to access academic potential in remote areas far from any urban center. In addition, some of the most promising rural students are less likely to attend competitive universities due to differences in culture and exposure. Nowhere is this disparity exemplified more than in communities in the mountains of Appalachia. We believe the next leaders and academics of America exist in these communities and we intend to prepare them intellectually, socially, and emotionally for their future successes.

In May 2015, GEAR UP at Appalachian State University partnered with YES to bring exceptional education opportunities to specific schools in Watauga County, North Carolina. YES programs in Appalachia are managed by Justin Hicks, a graduate of Appalachian State University with a wealth of experience working in YES’s offices in Los Angeles and New York City.

YES provides academic programs for select students in the following Watauga County schools. Candidates meet with YES instructors during school and on ASU’s campus for summer enrichment.

Partner Schools:

Bethel Elementary School
Cove Creek Elementary School
Green Valley Elementary School
Mabel Elementary School



2016 Summer Program Assignments