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BW Trio program celebrates 50 years

Though there were no lit birthday candles on the cake, there was plenty of glow on the faces of the attendees who commemorated the 50th anniversary of BW's TRIO Upward Bound program at a special event June 9.

The festivities lauded BW's long-standing commitment to providing educational access to students in need. One of the oldest programs in the nation, BW's Upward Bound began four years after the U.S. Department of Education initiated the Federal TRIO Programs to address educational disparity.

Since its inception, BW's Upward Bound has helped more than 3,000 low-income, first-generation students. This year the program graduated 33 students, of which 28 have been accepted and are registered for two- or four-year colleges at places like The University of Akron, Kent State University, The College of Wooster and Cleveland State University.Ranging in grade level from tenth to high school graduate, Upward Bound students in the 2017 summer academy spent five weeks on campus in an intensive camp experience.

Preparing Students for Success

"Upward Bound is the oldest of the TRIO Programs. It was born out of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" campaign of the 1960s. It addresses educational disparity by giving urban, rural and inner-city students opportunities to advance to college," explained Bonnie Munguia, director of BW's Upward Bound program.

Upward Bound students are recommended by their high school counselors. Students participate in after-school tutoring once a week and a four-hour Saturday session during the school year. In the summer, they attend a residential camp at BW.

"Upward Bound is an important aspect of BW's commitment to embracing diversity and success for all students. It boosts the educational potential of more than 105 Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school students each year by giving them access to college preparatory resources as well as social and cultural experiences," she added.

Beyond Courses...A Forever Family

For Upward Bound participants Vic Patterson and Kyerra Ervin, this year's high school graduation was a sweet reminder of the path they've taken to reach this milestone and the excitement and anticipation they feel for college experiences that soon lay ahead.

Photo of Victor Patterson and Kyerra Ervin of 2018 Upward Bound"In high school, I was senior class president, in the top 10 of my class and a student ambassador," explained Patterson, a graduate of Washington Park Environmental Studies Academy. "Without Upward Bound, I don't know if I could be all those things. I was very shy. Upward Bound helped me gain confidence and showed me how much the world has to offer."

Ervin also credits BW's Upward Bound with helping her succeed. She believes the complex courses she took in the program as well as mentoring and enrichment activities have benefited her by allowing her to experience college life.

Both Patterson and Ervin also cited the support they received from the community. "Upward Bound," said Patterson, "is like family to me. I can't thank the staff enough for what they did to make me a young scholar."

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