Florida A&M University offers low-income high school students an opportunity to be exposed to college life through the recruitment summer program Upward Bound.
The Upward Bound Program provides academic tutoring for standardized test preparation, mentoring, professional and leadership development and other skills needed to enter into and succeed in college.
Geraldine Seay, director of Upward Bound, said students get the opportunity to live on campus and take classes during the six-week summer program. Applicants must be a student at East Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Godby or Rickards high schools. The students must be a ninth or 10th grader, a first-generation college student and a part of a low-income family.
“The restrictions of the four schools were chosen because a grant requires that we identify targeted schools,” Seay said.
Upward Bound services are available throughout the academic year as well. The summer program is a kick-off to recruit students for college.
“Seventy-five percent of the seniors at FAMU this year are a result of Upward Bound,” Seay said.
Seay said in the summer, students in Upward Bound have a busy schedule. They wake up early to exercise, eat breakfast, engage in academic classes and pick an activity of their choice from 6-10 p.m.
“This year’s academics will focus on voting rights and National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” she said. “Fridays they have professional development and Saturday they travel. And they attend a local church on Sunday.”
Classes consist of reading, writing and a variety of math, biology and physics from Monday through Thursday.
Leeanne Peoples, 20, a junior health care management student, said Upward Bound helped her academically. “They offered tutors to help us with our homework and standardized testing,” Peoples said.
This summer participants will have a new music activity to choose from that will benefit Upward Bound and the students in the future.
“During the evening activity sessions, students who are interested in the entertainment industry can record and learn the technical side of recording,” Seay said. “In the fall, students who learn the technical operations will let students in the community record music as a fundraiser for Upward Bound.”
Mike “Mixture” Morgan, recruiter for Upward Bound and marketer for Sony/BMG, is confident the new project will be a success.
“I’m more than positive that we will have plenty of students that will love the projects we have set for them in the studio,” Morgan said.
Kathryn McCoy, a secretary at Rickards High School and a parent of an Upward Bound participant, said the program provides students with positive young role models to guide them.
“They realize from the college students that parents and teachers really are right about the stuff we constantly tell them,” McCoy said. “Kids seem to be more submissive to a younger generation.”
McCoy said Upward Bound is a great program for students and is a helping hand in parents’ lives.
“It’s a great program for students,” she said. “I still stay in touch with the staff. I recommend every parent that has the opportunity to enroll their child.”