Texas State students mentor high school students, encouraging them to graduate and go to college.
The Upward Bound Program is designed to help low-income high school students prepare for college. The program provides several ways for students to prepare. It provides after school academic sessions, a summer residential program and visits to different colleges in the state.
Ray Cordero, grant director of Upward Bound, worked with high school students in the program for years. He explained the history of the program and how it impacts high school students.
“The Upward Bound program is an early academic intervention and college preparatory program,” Cordero said. “What Upward Bound is designed to do is to provide academic assistance and intervention for high school students and then assistance in enrollment in post-secondary institutions. It’s an amazing experience for them because of the amount of growth it provides. It’s an enjoyable experience for everybody.”
Cordero said the Upward Bound Program is one of three the university hosts. The three programs are called TRIO, and helps students in different ways. The TRIO programs were all created by the Higher Education Act 1965 signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.
Megan Rockwood, grant specialist at Upward Bound, oversees the program at San Marcos, Lehman and Seguin high schools. She explained how the Upward Bound program impacted her and the students lives.
“I think they get a well-rounded experience to the program,” Rockwood said. “Not only are they getting college prep, but they are getting exposure to other high schools in the area with students that are similar in background and academic need. It’s deepened my passion; I started here as an intern and now I work here full time. I come from a psychology background so I get to use that a lot.”
Carolina Benavides, Upward Bound’s grant senior secretary, said the project leaves a lasting impact on students from both sides.
“I think it helps them realize their goals are actually attainable and that there is help in the higher education system that can get them there,” Benavides said. “Upward Bound is like a family to some of (the students) and it helps them feel included,” Benavides said.