Upward Bound program continues to prepare Valley students for college

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a full house of high schoolers at Reedley College Monday morning for the launch of the Upward Bound Summer Program.

Rise To It Productions hosted the event titled "Welcome to the League" with local media as the guests.

The program is designed to generate excitement and increase college enrollment among high school students.

They did just that -- getting the teens pumped with encouragement and motivation, and even a little lip sync battle.

Out of the 300 teens who participated, Stephanie Hernandez-Santos says this is her fourth Summer attending.

She will be a first-generation college-bound student, so she says the program has helped her break barriers.

"It was not only for myself but it's for my community," she said. "It's for my family and it's to prove to future generations that anything is possible."

The students represent 13 different schools in the Valley including Parlier, Reedley, Orange Cove and more.

Jacob Martinez and Carlos Ramirez-Garcia are Fowler High School students who say their family and their future is what's top of mind.

"They always talk about these are the programs that help you get in college, college is really preparing you for the future and that's what really motivates me is to think about how my life is going to be in the future and how serious I should take it," Martinez said.

For 30 years, the program allows students to experience what it's like to be in college -- they get to live in the dorms, plan their careers and even take field trips to colleges and universities around the state.

"They are taking college classes, they are learning underwater robotics, vex robotics, there's science, they are dissecting, they are building their English skills," says Upward Bound Director Dr. Diana Tapia-Wright.

Dr. Tapia-Wright says the program ultimately helps the students know what to expect and make them competitive college applicants.

"We train them for four years to not just get into competitive universities, but complete their college graduate degree," she said.

While it may be too late to sign up your student for this year's Upward Bound, the applications will open in August.
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