News from High School Hill: Upward Bound
by Emily Hess
MACC Intern

Most parents share the same fear when it comes to their child’s future. College: a word capable of spiking any teen and their parent’s blood pressure. The student wonders how they’ll get in, and the parent wonders how in the world they’ll afford it if they do. High school educators may do their best to prepare their pupils for higher education, but this proves not to be enough.

That’s where the Upward Bound program comes in. Founded in 1965, this federally funded college prep program is dedicated to sending first generation college students to college. Peoples Academy High School is one of the seven Vermont high schools that makes up Johnson State College’s Upward Bound program. During the summers, a mix of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors stay residentially on campus for six weeks. During that time, they take part in dual enrollment college classes, team classes, SAT prep, and learn what it’s like to live on a college campus. The students also take a week long leadership trip for the first week of the summer in a select location. In summer’s past, students have traveled to places like Pennsylvania, New York, and Maine. The purpose of the trip is to build a bond between the community, sightsee, and tour colleges. The cost of these experiences is completely free. Since UB focuses on low-income families, they avoid putting on any extra costs to their students’ bills. This includes free waivers for the PSAT, SAT, and ACTs.
Upward Bound also supports students throughout the school year, lending helping hands whenever they can. Monthly assignments keep college readiness fresh in students’ brains. Students in their senior year have UB to lean on throughout their entire college application and admission process. Once about every month there are Saturday meetings, where the entire program meets again to complete various tasks. In October each participating school does some form of a community service project. Peoples Academy’s Upward Bound does Warm the Children, a project at the Pick N’ Shovel in Newport, that offers $80 to low income families to buy winter clothes for their kids.

There are success stories to be found in almost every corner of this country from Upward Bound. This program has changed countless kids’ lives. It is hard in this day and age to go far with nothing, but a high school diploma, but the progress to make college more achievable and affordable is a slow process. The hard working minds behind the UB program are selflessly dedicated to getting the future generation into college because they see the true value in education and where it can take you.