Upward Bound Summer program encouraging high school students to pursue college

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Click, snap repeat; Fresno Unified High School students tried capturing the perfect shot Tuesday morning at Fresno City College.

Through photography, they and about 40 others are experiencing college life for six weeks at the college.

"I have chosen this program because I fell like instead of just wasting my time doing nothing I could be doing something that is beneficial to me," said student Brandon Lee.

Taking pictures is but a fraction of what they will learn in the Upward Bound Summer Program. For six weeks, low income, first-generation college students will participate in different classes and activities. They will be introduced to college and encouraged to pursue it.

"Sometimes students who are first generation don't have that kind of support at home, parents may want them to go to college, but don't know how to get them there or expose them and that is what our program tries to do," said Program director Ben Reynoso.

New to the program this year are internships.

"This is where they are going to learn a lot of those soft skills as far as how to work with people, how to get to work on time and what it is like to see professionals working, it shows these first gen students that, college is a reality for them," said Reynoso.

They will visit multiple college campuses and even live in a dorm for a week. If they don't have transportation, they can catch a bus ride for free. Lee is attending for his fourth and final time before going to college.

"We are taking a class, we are getting college credits, we are taking an internship and we are getting paid for that and honestly everything has really helped me compared to regular high school students I am more prepared for college," he said.

Joe Humphry, on the other hand, is returning for the third year. He says, now he plans to go to college.

"They help you out, but they don't make it seem like it is just a program, they make it seem like it is a family, it is more welcoming," said Humphry's.

And it is that care that is helping students take the next step.

Program coordinators say 95% of those who attend go to college after.
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