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The upward Bound program has been at Adams State for over 30 years. Its first director was Dr. Richard Duran then the torch was past to Mike Garcia and finally to the current director, Angelica Gallegos. Upward Bound is a national program that is in several different countries including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Here in the San Luis Valley Upward Bound serves seven different schools and is aimed at first generation low income 9-12 graders. The program would like to include more schools but is currently level funded. Also the program here at Adams State employs college students to help out those in the Upward Bound program.
The Upward Bound program serves around 88 kids a year. Students begin the summer after their 8th grade year and continue until they graduate high school. This program is a unique one; it takes high school kids that show potential to go to college gives them the skills to make it to any college they want. In 2009, 16 out of the 17 students that graduated from the program went to college and ten of those students came to Adams State.
When someone is accepted into the program after they are in 8th grade they come live at the college in Conour Hall for six weeks. During those six weeks the students attend mandatory math, writing, speech, or science classes in the morning for three hours. In the afternoon the students attend elective classes that they get to choose. On weekends in the summer and in the school year the students can go on field trips such as camping, going to plays and on college tours. This is to show them what is out there in nature, culturally, and college wise. The students also have to attend four meetings a month during the school year to keep up with their grades and the program itself. The students actually get paid to attend these night sessions. Also, the students and their parents are able to go to workshops to learn how to study, fill out financial aid and more.
Some of the teachers in the program are local high school teachers or professors from the college. The benefit of having teachers from the local high schools involved in the program is the students can have experience with their future teachers so they can be more confident when entering high school. The Upward bound program gives its students high school credits and hopefully they will soon be able to offer college credits.
The program isn’t all fun though; it’s a lot of work, too. The students in the Upward Bound program must maintain at the very least a 2.0 GPA. Also, if their GPA drops 1.0 below what they started the program with or they do not go to the meetings they are on probation. This seems like a strict rule but only ten percent of one year of students in the history of the program have ever been put on probation.
If you would like any more information on this amazing program you can look it up on the Adams website or visit their office on the south side of the second floor of Richardson Hall. There are many opportunities for college students to help, so go and get involved in this family-like program!