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Upward Bound prepares high school students for college

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For nearly 30 years, the Upward Bound program has been providing educational support to local high school students — who come from low-income and first generation families — in hopes that participants will succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits, said Upward Bound Director, Ismana Carney.

The Upward Bound program is federally funded through a five-year TRiO grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and provides services to a total of 82 Pueblo high school students from South, Central, Centennial and East High Schools in District 60, and County High School in District 70.

Local high school students particapate in the challenge course as part of the Upward Bound Program. Photo courtesy of the CSU-Pueblo Websites

The Upward Bound program is a four-year program. Students begin the program as freshmen and each spring as Upward Bound loses seniors, they begin recruitment in order to find new, Up-and-coming freshmen to join the program.

Upward Bound recruits upcoming freshmen based on recommendations from school counselors. Recommended students must go through a very extensive application process in order to become part of the program. However, once they are accepted into Upward Bound they are able to participate in a variety of educational and leadership building programs and events.

Participants in the program are able to receive four free hours of tutoring, from hand selected CSU-Pueblo students, at each of their respective school sites, in core college prep courses. In addition to academic instruction services, students are provided with the option to participate in counseling services and enrichment programs.

“We have a six week summer residential program, where the kids come here on campus … usually we’ll go off on a field trip for a week, we’ll go do community service, community leadership and friendship making,” Carney said. “We really have the kids begin to feel like part of the Upward Bound family, instead of identifying each other.”

She also said that Upward Bound has a number of other activities that students are required to participate in regularly, such as: cultural activities, leadership development activities and community service.

These activities are designed to help and support students to graduate high school and get accepted into college, either a community college or four-year university. The success of Upward Bound is determined presently by whether or not students are accepted into their college of choice.

However, at some point over the next couple of years when the TRiO grant is renewed, the government is going to require Upward Bound to track whether or not students actually graduated with a college degree. For now, Upward Bound continues to focus on encouraging participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

“Upward Bound is a wonderful program. I have never heard one alumni of the program say anything but, ‘Upward Bound saved my life, my career, myself. I could not have made it without Upward Bound,’” Carney said.

For more information contact Upward Bound at (719) 549-2750 or upwardbound@colostate-pueblo.edu