Opening up Nooksack Valley High School students to new possibilities keeps NVHS counselors Lisa McReynolds and Kristina Eastman always looking for fresh opportunities. One such opportunity, the Upward Bound Program from Whatcom Community College, has proven a success.
The Upward Bound Program is an academic pre-college program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education with the purpose of preparing and motivating low-income or first-generation students to attend an institution of higher learning, and to be successful at the college or university of their choice.
“We believe that supporting students is to help them realize that potential requires instilling the belief that for them that anything is possible,” says Sarah Simpson, project advisor with Whatcom Community College who works with project director Darlene Snider.
Services provided by the program:
* 1-to-1 support and college advising
* Monthly college prep workshops
* Six-week Summer Academy (transportation and meals provided when on Whatcom's campus)
* 24/7 online tutoring
* Summer field trips and colleges tours
* Spring break trip for juniors and seniors
* Leadership opportunities
Nooksack Valley students have enjoyed this no-cost program. "Nooksack Valley High School students continue to amaze me,” Simpson says. “They join Upward Bound curious about college, with their own goals, ready for support to pursue the futures they dream about!”
Eastman says the counselors “deeply value our partnership with Upward Bound and the multitude of support that they offer our first-generation college-going students.”
“The Upward Bound Program has supported our students in accessing — and excelling in — college through a student-led approach that simultaneously guides their immediate high school success and long-term college-readiness,” Eastman says. “This incredible resource not only promotes college/career exploration and the college application process, but mentors students in refining their advocacy skills and offers resources to ensure that students show up to college ready to succeed. Since we have partnered with this program, we have seen an increase in our first-generation college students arriving at college and finding long-term success.”
Aislinn Anaya of Nooksack Valley says being the first in her family to attend college means her hard work, persistence and dedication throughout school paid off. “Obtaining a college degree will impact my life by giving me more job and career opportunities that will be very beneficial to me and to the people supporting me along the way,” Anaya says, “by making me a role model for my little sister.”