Upward Bound Program Impacts High School Students

By Angalyse Keyock

Contributing Writer

Upward Bound may only be two words, but those two words can leave a lifetime impact on many high school students enrolled in the program at East Stroudsburg University.

Upward Bound is a federally funded, free educational assistance program offered through ESU.

The program’s goal is to guide students throughout their high school experience and offer support they may not receive at home.

Upward Bound director and alumni of the program himself, Uriel Trujillo, sees the influence of this program first hand after experiencing this program as a student when he was 14 years old.

The goal of this program explained by Trujillo, “is to help you succeed.”

Katie Christie, Upward Bound alumna, and current ESU sophomore, said the program “impacted my life forever.”

Upward Bound is offered as a six-week summer academic program and also runs throughout the academic year. Additional coursework is provided during the academic year through this program, as well as preparing them for standardized tests such as the PSSA, the Keystones, the ACT and the SAT.

When enrolled in the program you receive 24/7 online tutoring and individual counseling in making decisions about college.

Many students brought into this program do not receive this support in their home life, and personally do not know how to change it.

When students attend the six-week summer academic program, they are provided with housing on campus, as well as plenty of trips to still make their summers feel like summer.

They go to Broadway shows, to college trips to schools such as Kutztown University, Moravian College, and many other local colleges, these students are receiving a “mind opening” experience.

During the summer program students can break through their shells and become more social, and no, not through social media.

These students become more socially aware with other students with clubs such as Create Lab and Toastmasters Club.

“I had the opportunity to go to New York City and see four Broadway Shows,” said Christie, “without it I wouldn’t of had this experience.”

“They got what it takes. You just have to inspire them, provide them with academic advising to open the window to all the opportunities out there that are available to them. It really is inspiring to see,” said Trujillo.

Potential students are from East Stroudsburg High School North and South, as well as Pocono West, and Allentown School District. High school students from ninth, tenth, and eleven grades are recruited. 100 students are funded per session.

The most important criteria for a student attending this program is the student must be the first generation to go to college, with neither parent receiving a bachelor’s degree from a university or college.

For Christie, being away at college for the six-week program her freshman year was definitely not how many kids her age were spending their summers. Having to go to college in a new environment is something many students are not comfortable doing.

For many like Christie, she felt as though her parents sheltered her. She was unsure before attending if this program would be the right fit.

“I cried because I didn’t want to leave home, and when the summer session was over I cried because I didn’t want to leave.” Said Christie explaining how just six weeks in this program changed her whole perspective on the college experience.

Christie is currently studying Early Childhood education at ESU, with the intentions of changing children’s lives through education because of the impact it had on her.

Upward Bound has an 87-88 percent retention rate year to year.

25 percent of these students attend ESU after graduation, while others attend schools such as John Hopkins, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Villanova University and many more.

“College is a long road, it’s not short, we are here to continue your motivation,” said Trujillo.

If you know someone in the high school age group, who falls under these guidelines, encourage them to fill out an online or paper application available at the Upward Bound office.

Contact and more information on this program are available here. 

If this program is of interest to you as a college student, contact Director Uriel Trujillo at utrujillo@po-box.esu.edu , for more information on how to become a tutor for their six-week summer program.

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