LYNDON — Northern Vermont University-Lyndon (State College) Upward Bound recently completed its 40th summer program. Forty-five students from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire participated in this college preparatory residential program. The students were challenged to grow academically, socially and culturally all while pursuing their college goals.
The program was scheduled to begin with a white water rafting trip to Maine, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, that did not happen and the entire program was forced to make the hard transition to online learning. Students took virtual classes in Math, English, SAT and College preparation, and elective classes such as dance, creative writing and fitness. Students also had to option of touring 13 colleges virtually this summer; NVU-Lyndon and Johnson, The University of Vermont, Champlain College, Middlebury College, Castleton University, Norwich, Central Maine Community College, University of Maine at Farmington, Thomas College, University of Southern Maine, Keene, and The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Students also had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with the other motivated college bound students who make up the federally funded TRIO Upward Bound community.
Throughout the summer program, students were immersed in a college preparatory environment with two hours of daily academic classes, social activities, and elective classes with the purpose of immersing them in new and engaging activities.
The program also attended the annual Upward Bound Jamboree which was hosted by Castleton University Upward Bound where close to 200 students and staff from across Vermont and upstate New York celebrated their commitment to college planning. The Jamboree welcomed representatives from the Vermont congressional delegation, featured motivational speaker Jared Campbell, and a video by Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Jamboree was held as a live stream on YouTube and students were encouraged to engage and talk to each other using the chat feature.
The program offered 19 different academic courses to challenge students including SAT Prep, Calculus, Geometry, College Preparation, College Writing and Financial Literacy. There were, in addition, 21 elective courses including Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Fitness, Iphone Safari, Virtual Van Rides and Yoga. At the end of the summer all of the Upward Bound students took a full, unofficial SAT that will be used in the future to better prepare the young scholars for this important college entrance exam. The seniors scored 130 points above the national average for similar income students.
The switch to virtual learning was a sharp adjustment, but the students took advantage of the opportunities provided to continue with their academic preparation and personal development. The program firmly believes that these experiences will better prepare the students for success in high school in the fall and college in the future.
Upward Bound is one of the federally funded TRIO Educational Opportunity programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. NVU-Lyndon Upward Bound was founded in 1980, and works each year with 75 high school students who are first generation, college bound, and come from modest income backgrounds. Upward Bound students come from eight participating high schools, and are committed to achieving their postsecondary dreams. For more information contact Rick Williams in the Upward Bound office at (802) 626-5000.