Upward Bound, a Wilkes University affiliated program, is a 100% federally funded educational program. Upward Bound began at Wilkes University in 1967 and with the commencing of classes on Thursday, September 18, 2014 has seen a start to another successful year. According to current program director Dawn Harding, the goal of Upward Bound “is to provide high school students with better opportunities to attend college.” A goal that Wilkes’ Upward Bound has superseded. “Last year, 100% of Wilkes Upward Bound graduates have continued onto post-secondary education. One third of the graduates are currently freshman students attending Wilkes University,” proudly states Harding.
The Upward Bound program is not Wilkes recruitment orientated but instead, the program offers students academic instruction, financial aid education, tutoring and career guidance to junior and senior high school students so these students can attend and be successful members of the college of their choosing. According to Harding, the program requires students to come from “low income families” and be “first generation college students.” Two thirds of Upward Bound students fulfill both requirements; while one third meet one of the requirements.
Upward Bound abides by the motto “Where Your Dreams Have a Chance to Grow.” The current 125 high school students, who are helping their “dreams grow,” meet on campus Thursday nights to participate in two academic classes. A six week summer session is also conducted. This is a residential program where students occupy Evans Hall. While residing on campus, students complete four academic classes and two special interest classes.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in a career mentorship program. Tutoring and SAT prep is also offered throughout both the academic year, as well as the summer session. Harding states, “The concept of the program is designed to break the cycle of poverty through education.” She is also quick to add that “students never pay for any of the services provided.”
All of this work is not without play as students participate in “enrichment field trips.” Some past trips include the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, Eckley Miners’ Village, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and attending a Broadway play. Trips to college campuses are also provided.
More information on Upward Bound can be found on the Wilkes University website as well as, at the Upward Bound offices located on the third floor of Conyngham Hall. It is important to note that famous alumni of Upward Bound programs include Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, John Quinones and Director Dawn Harding.