UPWARD BOUND STUDENTS CELEBRATE SUMMER, COLLEGE SUCCESS
High school students and special guests dined together at Boone Tavern Thursday to celebrate six successful weeks of college and career readiness activities as part of Berea College’s Upward Bound Math and Science Center program. Berea College President Lyle Roelofs addressed the high school students at their end-of-summer celebration banquet, telling them “You and I are the same,” citing his background in physics as proof of his passion for science education. The 38 students, from Estill, Jackson, Lee, Madison, and Rockcastle counties, ranged from teenagers entering their second year of high school to students preparing to start college in the fall. They all were chosen for the program because they showed aptitude for math and science.
Berea College has been home to the residential program since 1999. Upward Bound Math and Science requires that students tackle a rigorous curriculum of college-readiness activities while living in Berea College dormitories for six weeks. The goal is to increase the rate at which participants’ graduate from high school attend college, and graduate from college.
Elliott Board spoke to his fellow students at the banquet. “This means a lot to me. It was my escape,” he said. “To become more studious in your ways, and to learn, and to learn about loving to learn.” He then asked the audience to envision getting their school schedules in the fall. “We’re gonna be prepared. That puts us more than just one giant leap ahead of all the other regular students. We know more, we’ve been through more, and we have more,” he said. “This program has done so much for me.” Board will be a freshman at Berea College in the fall.
Over the summer, five college professors and math and science professionals taught students, helped them conduct experiments, and accompanied them on scientific exploration trips. Students toured the University of Kentucky botanical gardens and met with engineering students, visited the Center for Disease Control and toured its Smithsonian Affiliate Museum.
Holly Branscum, program director for Upward Bound Math and Science, was pleased with the progress students made. “A success—that is how I would describe the summer,” she said. “Part of being a successful college student is learning how to live in a residential setting with strangers, learning how to study and how to find the resources available.” But the students did not stop there, she observed. “Many found their voices and are now confident students.”
Upward Bound Math and Science Center is a federally-funded program implemented by Partners for Education at Berea College. Partners for Education uses a place-based, student-focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky. To learn more, visit http://partners.berea.edu.