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Upward Bound celebrates 50th anniversary

August 13, 2014

Upward Bound, a national program that more than doubles the chances of low-income, first-generation students to graduate from college, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer.

Chadron State College has hosted an Upward Bound program since 2006.

Program director Dr. Maggie Smith-Bruehlman said Upward Bound partners with colleges nationwide providing students between ages of 13 and 18 instruction in college readiness, literature, composition, mathematics, and science on college campuses during annual Upward Bound six-week summer programs.

The CSC Upward Bound program serves high school students from Chadron, Crawford and Alliance. Advisers at each high school provide academic assistance to help students graduate and pursue postsecondary education. Other Upward Bound services include tutoring, college campus tours, financial aid information and workshops for students, parents, teachers, counselors and administrators.

Up to 60 students are enrolled in the Chadron-based program each year with a record of 98 percent graduation from high school.

Smith-Bruehlman said she has been fortunate to witness a measurable increase in the confidence level of many students who have participated in Upward Bound at Chadron State College.

“After attending a Student Leadership Conference in Chicago along with six other Upward Bound students, a Chadron High School student gained the confidence to become a foreign exchange student through the Chadron Rotary Club. She applied and was assigned to Spain. She attributes her courage to the Chicago Upward Bound Leadership Conference and her first airline flight,” Smith-Bruehlman said.

The Chadron State College Upward Bound staff includes Smith-Bruehlman, academic advisers Lauren Stephens at Chadron High School, Heather Moore Sager at Crawford High School and Tearza Mashburn at Alliance High School. Stephanie Stroup is the office assistant at the main office in Crites Hall on the Chadron State College campus.

Upward Bound was one of the first of several federal college-access programs known as “TRiO” — so named because there were, at the time, three such federal programs for low-income students — Upward Bound, Student Support Services and Talent Search. Today there are eight TRiO programs. The Chadron State College TRiO programs include Upward Bound and Student Support Services.

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of Upward Bound students served must come from families with incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and in which neither parent graduated from college.

Upward Bound was an experimental program developed by the Office of Economic Opportunity as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1964.

—CSC College Relations

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