The third time IS the charm for Gilbertsville-Mount Upton which has just earned, for the third year in a row, a 2020-2021 School of Distinction award from CFES Brilliant Pathways.

CFES (College For Every Student) Brilliant Pathways works with schools to help students in low-income, underserved communities find their own "brilliant pathways" on their way to college and careers. This organization provides educators with tools to overcome those barriers and build a college-going culture in their classrooms.

The 2020-2021 School of Distinction award from CFES Brilliant Pathways was given to GMU Principal Heather Wilcox and School Counselor Lisa Ruland at the CFES Brilliant Pathways’ 30th annual global conference back in October in Lake George. During the conference, Wilcox gave a presentation called “Building and Strengthening Your Mentoring Program,” which focused on connections, strategies, and resources that schools can use to start or improve mentoring programs. That program started in the 2018-2019 school year matches up each student in grades PK through 5th with a mentor-student in grades 6 through 12. Once a week the mentor students work with the younger student they are paired with on social skills and life skills.

Is this mentoring program working? Perhaps this speaks for itself? According to, the latest information from this year states that GMU's graduation rate of 90% has increased from 80-89% over five school years. It certainly doesn't hurt that the teacher-to-student ratio is 1:10.

Congrats to GMU on this amazing achievement during challenging times. To find out more about what GMU is up to, visit them at

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