Upward Bound Program Opens Pathway to College for Area High School Students

One hundred twenty-one high school students in seven counties near Eastern Kentucky University are Upward Bound, thanks to a federally funded program celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The Upward Bound program at EKU provides a broad array of academic and support services and enrichment programs designed to help qualifying students who are motivated to complete high school and enroll in and graduate from colleges or universities.

Ninth- through 12th-graders from Casey, Estill, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, Powell and Wolfe counties participate in academic workshops, tutoring and enrichment experiences in their home counties and at EKU during the academic year and during a six-week academic residential program on EKU’s Richmond campus in the summer. They also benefit from:

·         assistance with the application process for financial aid.

·         help with time management, study skills and decision making.

·         educational field trips and cultural events.

·         year-round career, academic and financial literacy planning.

The summer program strengthens the students’ knowledge in such areas as English literature and composition, mathematics, science, Latin, Spanish, drama, history and financial literacy. A five-year EKU Upward Bound profile indicated that 84 percent of students enrolled achieved proficiency in reading/language arts and math. Then, when a student graduates from high school, Upward Bound continues to monitor the students until they complete their post-secondary education.

One graduate of the program at Eastern is Keven McQueen, of Berea, now a lecturer in the University’s Department of English and author of 13 books. McQueen was in the program 1983-84 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Berea College and a master’s degree at EKU.

He remembers an “encouraging” English teacher “at a time when I needed some encouragement,” as well as all the “fantastic” educational and cultural trips.

Karen Lynn, of Richmond, now a writer/editor in EKU’s Division of Public Relations, said living on campus gave her “firsthand knowledge of what life on a college campus could be like, and made it seem much easier to attain.”

The Casey County High School graduate especially remembers the friendships formed and all the shared events – from bus trips to campus dances. “I still keep in touch with many of my friends from the program.”

She also saw the ocean for the first time during an Upward Bound trip to Daytona Beach. “The memory of standing on shore and feeling the waves hit my feet for the first time always makes me grateful for the opportunities I had with the program.”

Lynn, who was in the program 1980-82 and graduated from EKU in 1986, said Upward Bound “certainly helped make it easier to begin my college education and offered me a comfortable resource when I had questions.  I also think it affected my decision to attend Eastern instead of other colleges. It already felt like home.”

EKU’s Upward Bound program is currently accepting applications. For more information about Upward Bound at EKU, visit www.upwardbound.eku.edu or call Director Tamara Stewart at 859-622-1080.

Upward Bound is one of four federally funded TRiO programs at EKU, joining Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services/NOVA and the McNair Scholars Program. 

Published on August 28, 2014

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