Upward Bound wraps up busy summer

Published 12:55 am Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Upward Bound program is a pre-college preparatory program, funded through the department of education to develop the skills and motivation necessary for the students to succeed in college. The program is conducted during the summer as well as 15 Saturdays during the academic year.

The program served 80 students from the city of Selma, Dallas and Wilcox counties. Students spend six weeks on campus, taking a variety of courses ranging from the basics — English, mathematics and reading — and special interest courses such as social studies, choral music, science, Spanish and writing. Recreational activities included basketball, volleyball, games, walking and exercise.

The 2009 summer phase of the Upward Bound program at Concordia College was an educational and cultural experience. The summer phase consisted of two groups of students: those in grades nine-12 and those in the Bridge Program, which consists of high school graduates.

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The underlying factor in educating our students, total development is inherent in each phase of the educational process. The aim toward any segment of the student’s personality ,must include the cultural spectrum. Exposure to culturally enriching places and models will become embedded within the students’ concept of self-awareness and identification to the world in which they live and function. Such exposure should help to produce a more fruitful and productive citizen.

During the period, seminars were held on HIV, AIDS, sex, birth control and abortion and leadership training. Students were able to see films, movies and handouts and, most of all, ask questions concerning these subjects. Students enjoyed cookouts, picnics, movies, ice cream parties and watermelon cutting during the summer.

One of the highlights of the summer phase for 2009 was the Mr. and Miss Upward Bound Pageant. Winners of the contest were: Miss Upward Bound 2009, Samantha Williams, a Selma High graduate; and Mr. Upward Bound 2009, Derek Jones, a senior at Keith High; Wilcox Central graduate Arielle Powell, first runner-up; Kendra Safford, a senior at Dallas County, second runner-up; Keith graduate Shaneequa Dragg, third runner-up; and Dallas County graduate Jocelyn Oden, fourth runner-up. Theodrie Hatcher, a senior at Keith, was first runner-up for Mr. Upward Bound.

The awards program was held May 10. Awards included: Upward Bounder of the summer: Derek Jones, Keith; and Charnele Kennedy, Wilcox; Most Helpful — Myra Snow, Keith; and Mario Pratt, Selma; Most Improved — Kanesha Smith, Wilcox; and Jack Towns, Dallas County; Most All-Around — Arielle Parnell, Wilcox; and Malcolm Madison, Wilcox; Director’s Award — Quintin Hayes, Keith; Shaquetta M. Young, Wilcox; and Vanessa L. McMillian, Keith.

All graduating seniors were given the opportunity to enroll in six hours of transferable college credits in the “Bridge the Gap” program. The 16 bridge students included Shaneequa Dragg, WCCS; Vanessa McMillian, Birmingham Southern Community College; Martika Monea Gloss, WCCS; Denise Flennory, WCCS; Jabari Powell, WCCS; Dewayne Sanders Jr., The University of Alabama; Clyde Moise, WCCS; William Lumpkins, Concordia College; Quintin Hayes, Alabama State; Patrick Matthews, WCCS; Arielle Purnell, Alabama Southern Community College; Kaneshia Smith, , Alabama A&M; Shawuetta Monique Young, University of Alabama at Huntsville; Samantha LaTrease Williams, WCCS; Isaac Lanier III, Concordia College; and Chester Ross, Concordia.

On July 13, Upward Bound students, staff, faculty and parents left for a five-day visit to Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta. Chatanooga included sites at Ruby Falls, Rock City Garden and Incline Railway. The tour of Atlanta included the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, Cyclorama, Buckhead, the Governor’s Mansion, Georgia Tech, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical site, the Martin Luther King Center, King’s birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, CNN, Atlanta university campuses (Morehead, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Spelman, Interdenomination Theological Center), Stone Mountain, Auburn Avenue and the Herndon mansion. The next day, everyone enjoyed Six Flags Over Georgia with a private picnic on the ground and shopping at the Northlake Mall that evening.

In addition to social and cultural activities, the program also provides a comprehensive counseling service to help students find themselves and gear them into the area for which they are especially suited; these services include academic, vocational and career counseling.

The Upward Bound program is designed to stimulate the desire to learn and to make learning a significant and exciting experience; to develop the student academically, socially and culturally, and to produce a wholesome, well-rounded person. Students are selected on the recommendations of teachers, counselors, social and community agencies and others who are acquainted with the program. We are in the process of taking applications from students in grades 9-11 from target schools in Selma, Dallas and Wilcox counties. Applications may be picked up from your high school counselor, or the Upward Bound office at Concordia College, 1804 Green St., or by calling 874-5700, ext. 127.