August 21, 2017

Upward Bound program prepares students for the future

UW-Superior’s Upward Bound program students are involved throughout the year with three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and a summer component.

UW-Superior’s Upward Bound program students are involved throughout the year with three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and a summer component.

Upward Bound serves 56 students selected from the Superior School District.

While the University of Wisconsin-Superior is a much quieter place during the summer months, a group of students from Superior High School kept busy working toward their educational goals through UW-Superior’s Upward Bound program.

Upward Bound is a federally funded program created in 1964 to identify and assist promising high school students who face barriers to completing high school and enrolling in a post-secondary institution. Since then, more than 800 Upward Bound programs across the nation have helped hundreds of thousands of young people. In June UW-Superior’s program was refunded with a $1.28 million grant for the next five years.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the UW-Superior campus, community and Superior School District to collaborate on exceeding the goals set forth in our new grant,” said Angie Hugdahl, Director of the Upward Bound Program at UW-Superior.

UW-Superior is one of 14 Upward Bound programs in Wisconsin providing support services to high potential students who would be unlikely to pursue higher education without extra support. Upward Bound provides that support at no cost to the families or the school district.

Upward Bound serves 56 students selected from the Superior School District. Students are typically recruited in the 8th grade year, and dedicated participants are eligible to remain in the program until high school graduation. Students are involved throughout the year with three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and a summer component.

“We try to get them into the program as 9th graders,” said Hugdahl. “That first summer program is where they really start to transition. They see what the other students have done in the program, how successful they’ve become and how they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities and resources that Upward Bound has to offer. In the program, they begin to do some self-reflection and their positivity feeds off of each other. That’s where we’ve started seeing the growth and that self-assurance and self-motivation that is so important to get through tough spots – especially for first-generation students – and then going on to college and the perseverance they need to get through.”

The six-week summer intensive college prep programs, which has been occurring since 1999, brings students to the UW-Superior campus.

“Students are here on campus for four weeks living in the residence halls, giving them the chance to see what college is really like,” said Hugdahl. “That exposure is so critical for first-generation, low-income students. They take classes like English, math, foreign language and interpersonal communication or a theatre component that are geared to help them in the next year in high school.”

The fifth week involves a science camp where learning included chemistry and biology. The last week of the program is spent touring a specific spot in the United States.

“We visit a college, get cultural experience and take part in different activities to peak their interest in careers,” said Hugdahl. “It broadens their horizons, giving them opportunities they wouldn’t normally have to make them a stronger and better individual.”

While the idea of spending time during the summer in a classroom may not sound appealing, the students involved in the program know what a difference the extra learning time can make.

“The summer program is a privilege, not a right,” said Hugdahl. “They need to earn their way into the summer program by meeting rules and expectations and possessing that drive to want to do things to better themselves – striving for that excellence. They want to be here. They have fun while they are here. They meet new people, explore new relationships, go on field trips and participate in class projects.”

The extra effort pays off for Upward Bound students. Last year, 10 of the 11 Upward Bound seniors went to college. This year all nine of its seniors were accepted to the college of their choice. The program has a 72 percent rate of students who entered college who are still attending or have graduated. The national average graduation rate for first-generation, low-income students is about 32 percent.

As the calendar turns to fall, Upward Bound students come to UW-Superior on Thursdays after school for mandatory tutoring. Optional tutoring is also offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school for those who want or need extra help.

Involvement in Upward Bound can also provide students with unexpected opportunities.
In January, six local high school student members of the Upward Bound program visited Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. These students from the Superior School District were selected to attend the inauguration from a competitive internal essay application process in October.

In their application essays, which were submitted before November’s election, students noted the historical significance of the election regardless of who was elected and the impact of inaugurations in our nation’s history. Some students also shared that attending this tour would benefit them academically as they prepare to attend college by gaining a first-hand understanding of how the political system operates.

While in Washington D.C., the students toured the Smithsonian Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. They also met with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office.

Yet at the essence of the Upward Bound program, the experience is about much more than trips. The growth experienced by the students on their academic journey opens a new world of opportunity.

“My favorite part is recruiting them as sparkly-eyed kids finishing up their eighth-grade year to the day that they come to me with their acceptance letter of the college they were hoping to get into, making their academic dreams come true of being the first in their family to graduate from college,” said Hugdahl.

UW-Superior’s Upward Bound program students are involved throughout the year with three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and a summer component.

UW-Superior’s Upward Bound program students are involved throughout the year with three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and a summer component.

Departments/Offices

Categories

UW-Superior Faculty/Staff

RELATED NEWS

GET UW-SUPERIOR NEWS IN YOUR INBOX

You can unsubscribe at anytime

OTHER UW-SUPERIOR NEWS