First-year Yellowjacket Angel Raddatz has always been a good student. She was near the top of her class at Superior High School and she loves to learn. She's been active in the community, played sports and excelled in music. Yet, Angel questioned whether she'd be able to go to college.
Her parents entered the workforce directly out of high school, and while they supported her desire to earn a degree, they were unfamiliar with the application process and available resources. Angel wasn't sure if she'd be able to pay for tuition.
But, all that changed when she was accepted to the Upward Bound program at UW-Superior.
"My older sister was in the program and she found it to be just amazing," Angel said. "When I heard about her experiences, I knew I wanted to be in the program, too. At first, I was put on a waiting list, so I was so happy and relieved to be accepted in the fall of ninth grade."
A passion for music
Throughout high school, Angel participated in Upward Bound activities each week, receiving tutoring services, touring colleges, learning about various degrees and options for college, and participating in educational and community service activities. Not only did the program inspire her to never give up on her dream of going to college, it also helped her recognize her talents and passion for music.
"When I was in 10th grade, I went on an Upward Bound trip to Memphis. We went to some of the music museums and I really got inspired," she said. "That same year, Professor (Greg Kehl) Moore heard me play trombone at my school and invited me to play in the UWS Jazz Ensemble. It was such an honor! I was scared at first, but I worked my way up from third chair to first and I absolutely love it. Now, I've decided I want to be a high school music teacher."
The chance to 'sample' UWS
Angel got a taste of what college would be like through the Upward Bound Summer Component. She and about 40 other kids lived on campus for six weeks Monday to Friday while taking college preparatory classes and participating in recreational and cultural activities. The experience helped her decide that UWS was the perfect place for her.
"Between playing in the UWS Jazz Ensemble and getting a taste of campus life during the Summer Component, I feel like I really know UWS and there's just nowhere I'd rather be," said Angel. "The music program is top-notch, the people here are great and the small size makes it feel homey."
Getting out what she put in
Through the help of Upward Bound, Angel was able to secure scholarships and grants totaling about $13,000. "My first year is almost fully paid for, which feels great," she said. "I owe so much to the Upward Bound program for helping me access the financial resources I needed."
"I always tell my students, 'You get out of Upward Bound what you put into it,' said Angie Hugdahl, Upward Bound program director. "Angel is one student who conducts herself by this motto. She has taken advantage of the resources and opportunities available to her, creating a strong foundation for success within and outside of the classroom."
Upward Bound opened the doors to college for Angel and her sister, but they may not be the only ones in her family to benefit from the program.
"My dad is now considering going back to school to earn a degree," said Angel. "I think Upward Bound helped him imagine the possibilities, too. It's been a life-changing program for me and my family."
The Upward Bound Program at UW-Superior serves 56 students in grades 9-12 selected from the Superior School District. These students are dedicated participants and are eligible to remain in the program until high school graduation. The program includes three main components: academic year tutoring, Saturday Academies and the Summer Component. For more information, visit uwsuper.edu/UB.
Sarah Libbon is an associate university relations specialist.