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Upward Bound Program at College of Mount Saint Vincent Keeps the Motivation Alive for Low Income High School Students


Riverdale, NY – The College of Mount Saint Vincent is hosting a summer session for 71 at-risk students from the John Jay College Upward Bound program. Youths ranging in age from 13 to 18 live on campus as they experience college life for the first time while receiving college instruction. This is a month-long program that began June 30th and will end on August 1. After successful completion of the program, students will receive high school equivalent credit for their participation.

Upward Bound is part of TRIO, a program designed to help first generation high school students with their academic growth and development, to persist in high school, and ideally go on to college. It is funded by the United States Department of Education and provides a strong foundation of support for kids who come from low-income families. “The primary goal is to motivate the kids to go on to college,” says Karen Texeria, Director of the program. “We also want to keep them out of trouble.”

Along with classes, the students receive critical services such as advisement, test preparation for SATs, personal counseling, college preparation, and developmental workshops. Successful graduates of the program have gone on to majors in demanding disciplines such as chemical engineering and medicine.  Several students such as Papa Gueye, have attended the College of Mount Saint Vincent after participating in the program. Gueye graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

The John Jay program supports a vastly diverse group of students. They are Chinese, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, African, and Salvadorian. They are mostly from high schools on the west side of Manhattan such as Cathedral High School, Landmark High School, Washington Irving High School, and High School for Media & Communications. The students have the full experience of college life living in dormitories, eating meals at the college cafeteria, and attending classes on campus.

Despite the positive efforts Upward Bound makes for high school students, the program itself is at risk of being cut due to New York State budgeting. The failing economy has created an impact on education and the possibility of being eliminated is becoming increasingly threatening.  The program has been endorsed by the Superintendent’s Office of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and by the Superintendent of the NYC Alternative Schools.