Who We Are


Harding High School GEAR UP Staff

Jeremy Daniel

Academic Advisor

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Jeremy Daniel, B.A., graduated from Lasell College with a Bachelors Degree in History. Prior to Lasell, Jeremy graduated from Bassick High School in 2010. While attending Lasell College he was on their basketball team and he interned at MissonSAFE in Roxbury, MA. MissonSAFE  helps high school students face obstacles and challenges to gain confidence and skills to achieve their potential. Jeremy also spent some time as a substitute teacher in various high schools and middle schools throughout Bridgeport. A former GEAR UP student himself, he knows how essential GEAR UP is to students. He is currently the freshman basketball coach at Harding High School and plans to pursue his Master’s in Secondary Education at the University of Bridgeport.

Julia Grimalli

Academic Advisor

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Julia Grimalli, B.S. graduated from Sacred Heart University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  She is a recipient of the Silver Medal of Excellence in Criminal Justice Award, and spent a semester abroad in Dingle, Ireland.  After returning from her semester abroad, Julia was a Global Ambassador for her university. This entailed speaking to prospective study abroad students, as well as international students, and participation in Sacred Heart’s International Education Week. Along with her passions for travel and criminal justice, Julia enjoys working in youth development and aiding Bridgeport students in the college exploration process. Her previous work experience included assisting Central High School students with the college process where they researched academic degree programs, scholarship opportunities and campus clubs and organizations.  Julia also spent time as an academic tutor to young children at Beardsley School in Bridgeport, and as a youth counselor at the Boys and Girls Club in Milford.  She hopes to begin her graduate degree in the near future. 

Sophia Hughes

Academic Advisor

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Sophia “Sophie” Hughes LL.B, M.S.W., graduated from London University with a degree in law. She was admitted to the bar of England and Wales and practiced as a plaintiff personal injury lawyer before moving to the USA. While working as a lawyer Sophia founded and ran a support group for troubled teenage girls. She also volunteered with a community program that supported families raising children with physical and mental challenges. After volunteering in local community programs and raising her children, she decided to switch careers and graduated from Fordham Graduate School of Social Service in 2008. Since graduating Sophie has specialized in working with teenagers, particularly those at-risk for substance abuse. One of her core beliefs is that a good education should be made available to everyone regardless of their circumstances. Sophie is passionate about helping young people make healthy choices for themselves. Sophie joined the GEAR UP Program in 2011 and worked with students from the class of 2017 at Barnum and Waltersville Schools until her students moved up to Harding High School where she has worked since 2013-14.