Higher Up Texas
Life is sweeter with everyone helping to build the HUT community!
Our Raffle to Replenish is one week away and we are so close to our goal of $500.
You can win a beautiful Kendra Scott mint green necklace and help refill our Soul Shelf which is a library full of books, snacks, supplies, and more!
5 tickets for $20!
Purchase tickets here
While having lunch in 2018, two friends- Tony Annunziato and Rick Gornto- discussed the deep-rooted implications that continued patterns of poverty have on a community.
Often, money comes into an impoverished community, and while it is critical for meeting basic needs, the long-lasting impact of change is minimal.
Tony and Rick had a vision and desire to begin a ripple-effect of change through the development of critical thinking skills, etiquette, and core values in young adults.
However, this dream needed a “home” that was willing to take a chance on a big idea.
Later that year, the stars aligned. Tony and Rick were introduced to Dickinson High School Principal, Dr. Billye Smith.
Like Tony and Rick, Billye comes from humble beginnings.
She is familiar with the internal drive, values, and skills needed for success in life.
She could see the potential in this program, but it needed a plan.
The three came together and listed two-pages of ideas that would forever impact an incoming group of Dickinson High School Seniors.
Continuing in the spirit of destiny, Rick connected with Hillary Gramm who he had known for 10 years through another non-profit organization. Rick shared the two-pages of ideas for a program and said, “take it away!” Within a month, a curriculum was developed and the great vision had a name: Higher Up Texas (HUT).
The name, Higher Up Texas, is derived from the core values that embody the culture of this organization.
The six core values are: Honesty, Integrity, Grit, Hopefulness, Eagerness, Readiness.
When these core values are lived out, we ALL move UP!
Our first group of HUT students began the program in August 2019. Twenty-Seven Seniors in the AVID* program began an in-class journey where reaching beyond comfort zones is encouraged every day.
In addition to the 6 core values, students are taught how to think critically in their decision making and learn important life skills such as managing personal and future finances, voting, cultural awareness and appreciation, social responsibility, navigating mental health struggles, networking, and practicing proper business and personal etiquette.
Due to COVID-19, the pilot year of HUT ended prematurely…or so we thought. Organically, it was discovered that the students had a host of needs after high school.
This group of students helped create the other half of the equation for success: Higher Up Phase 2 (HP2).Students in HP2 receive help in the following ways:
HP2 students contribute back into HUT through special projects that improve the overall program and community.
Despite COVID-19 challenges and unknowns, it was clear that HUT was a successful endeavor.
In addition to the Seniors in the AVID program, HUT added 75 DHS Senior Students in the CTE program working towards healthcare careers.
Amy Berger and Kim Williamson joined the team in the fall of 2020 and taught 100 new HUT Seniors at Dickinson High School.
Higher Up Texas students are taught skills from the inside out to create a ripple effect of change for themselves, their families, their friends, and their community.
We are an ever evolving, loving, vulnerable family that cares deeply for one another.
The future is bright for Higher Up Texas students.
Students no longer walk the unknown paths alone.
HUT students continue to support and guide each other into fields and careers that will provide pathways towards employment and life satisfaction.
We are building a network that will forever impact this community.
“Bloom Where You Grow!”