Students earn recognition for academic successThe Upward Bound program is effective, and it has the numbers to prove it. Since 1999, 100 percent of the high school students enrolled in the program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior have graduated.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Upward Bound program is effective, and it has the numbers to prove it. Since 1999, 100 percent of the high school students enrolled in the program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior have graduated. Statewide, graduation rates hover around 90 percent. In the School District of Superior, where the Upward Bound students attend school, graduation rates have ranged from a low of 80.1 to a high of 95.1 percent in the past 15 years.
But wait; there’s more. Of those Upward Bound alumni, 86 percent are either attending or have graduated college.
“Compare that to the national average of 32 percent,” said Reilly O’Halloran, TRiO programs manager for UWS. “That’s killer.”
Friday was a day to celebrate the success of Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the McNair Program, a trio of programs that give disadvantaged students a leg up in the academic world.
“These programs have been doing what they do best, opening doors for you, as participants in these programs, to see yourselves in new ways, to discover talents and interests you didn’t know you had, to invest in yourself and your future through education,” said Jane Birkholz, assistant vice chancellor of enrollment management. “To imagine, to reach out and to achieve accomplishments that even a short time ago were not even possibilities on your personal radars.”
She encouraged the gathered high school and college students to stay the course.
“Don’t let the bumps and challenges along the way keep you from reaching something no one can take away — your education,” Birkholz said.
For Roberta “Bobbie” Lamaere, being a tutor for Student Support Services has advanced her own teaching goals. Lamaere graduated from UWS in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in theater. After 23 years in the public relations field, she is back at UWS studying for her master’s.
“Ultimately I want to teach,” said the Superior woman, and being a tutor helps her exercise those skills. “I love the students. When they come in, it’s so much fun.”
She sees the impact the program has on students like Yasmin Ahmad, a go-getter who spends a lot of time studying at Student Support Services.
“Without it, where would some of these students go,” Lamaere asked. Teachers can help to a point, but there may be a dozen students having trouble with the coursework. Student Support Services provides peers to help these first generation college students jump college hurdles.
Upward Bound provides tutoring, counseling and study skills training to 50 high school students in the Superior school district who face barriers to completing high school and enrolling in a post-secondary institution. Upward Bound includes a six-week summer school and field trips to activities and campuses.
“We serve first generation, low-income students who have a high potential to go to college,” said Angie Hugdahl, director of the program.
Friday, the 12 SHS seniors enrolled in the program stood up to announced the colleges they had been accepted to —including UWS, University of Minnesota Duluth and Mary Wolf University in Arlington, Va.
But, O’Halloran said, the future funding of the program is in jeopardy. TRiO programs are currently slated for a $23 million cut nationwide. The programs up for refunding include Upward Bound and the McNair program, which helps income eligible, first generation college students pursue doctoral study.
“It’s appropriate to tighten the belt,” O’Halloran said. “It’s also appropriate to raise taxes.”
As legislators in Washington D.C. debate cuts, he said, they should keep in mind the numbers of students who reach their education goals through programs like Upward Bound.
“You don’t get those stats anywhere else,” O’Halloran said.
For information, visit www.uwsuper.edu/trio/index.cfm. A complete list of award winners from Friday’s TRiO Day celebration are listed at www.superiortelegram.com.