Nationally, Upward Bound boasts alumni such as actress Viola Davis and broadcast journalist John Quinones among their ranks. Leaders in business, science, entertainment, and education credit their preparation for future success to the federal program designed to help teens reach their full potential as adults.
For more than 50 years, Upward Bound has been preparing students in -need for college and success after graduation. Students in the program receive guidance and resources from 9th grade through college. Founded in 1965, it was the first federally funded program to help low-income and first-generation students succeed in higher education and attain middle class status. Locally, the program helped students through the mid-1990s.
Now Upward Bound is back on the Mid-Shore thanks to three federal grants awarded to Chesapeake College this year.
“It seems that every day I hear of someone who benefitted from an Upward Bound experience,” said Executive Director of TRiO Programs Christle Foster. “The skills attained and guidance provided through the program are proven to help students succeed in high school, through college, and on into their early careers.”
Students in the program will receive academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, career exploration, cultural enrichment and stipends.
Students in Caroline, Kent and Talbot counties can now join the program this academic year. Combined, the three federal grants will allow 180 area high school students to participate in the program at Chesapeake.
Chesapeake recently named Mark Berry to be director of TRiO Upward Bound. Mr. Berry previously served as Chesapeake’s director of student engagement.
The Upward Bound application is now open online and Mr. Berry has been meeting with potential participants in area schools and in the community. Mr. Berry said students are encouraged to apply now, and plan to begin participating in the program by the beginning of Spring Semester.
“Our partners in the county high schools are as excited about the program as we are, and we’re working together to recruit students, “ Mr. Berry said.
With the proliferation of businesses designed to help high school students navigate college admissions and rising higher education costs, the barriers to college can seem impossibly high to some high school students.
First generation students – those who have parents without bachelor’s degrees – are at an even greater disadvantage. Unfamiliar with the language of higher education and inexperienced, these students are unable to turn to their families for help. The only guidance they receive is provided by school counselors, who may have hundreds of students to assist.
Upward Bound academic coordinators will help guide students through the college admissions and financial aid process with workshops and field trips. Students will also learn to recognize good opportunities and how to build professional connections.
Participation in the program can also boost a student’s high school performance.
“The program includes grade monitoring, so our academic coordinators can see how Upward Bound students are doing throughout the quarter. They can provide encouragement and guide students to available resources,” Mr. Berry said. “Those check-ins aren’t limited to academics. Our staff will communicate regularly with students to make sure they’re thriving outside of the classroom and connect them with community resources such as mental health services or local food pantries. We’re taking a holistic approach to student success.”
Also included in the program, is a six-week, intensive summer session designed to keep students on track for continued success as they transition to the next grade. Each of the six weeks will include days with an academic focus and one day of enrichment, according to Ms. Foster. For graduating high school seniors in Upward Bound, a summer bridge program will include two Chesapeake classes for college credit. These credits can provide a head start at Chesapeake College or be transferred to a four-year college.
To learn more about the program and apply, please visit https://www.chesapeake.edu/