Upward Bound empowers first-generation students to achieve success in higher education

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 00:34:55-04

BOISE — Upward Bound is a national, federally funded program that serves first-generation, low-income students. The goal is to encourage and empower them on their path to higher education.

"My first year, I used to be super shy and I would keep to myself, but TRIO really helped me grow out of that," said Genesis Cornejo, an incoming senior at Nampa High School. "That's my main goal -- getting to college with help."

Upward Bound is a residential program, which means students stay at the dorms at Boise State.

Students learn writing, coding, and other skills to help prepare them for college and the real world, including a trip to Hawaii to help build a disaster readiness program.

"The students in the T3 created these little boxes that told the community when it's OK to stay and when they should evacuate," said Thalya Cruz, another incoming senior at Nampa High School.

The classes are not just about what happens inside the classroom. "We do fun stuff at night. So, again, we're trying to build like cultural experiences, and so they can see stuff that they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to see," said Megan Simila of Upward Bound. "So, we take them to the Shakespeare Festival. We take them rafting. We do roller skating."

The program focuses on play and the arts.

"It's an opportunity to hear young people from all over, especially southern Idaho now, who are part of the TRIO Upward Bound program, share their stories through play writing, through dramatic story telling," said Thomas Kellogg, artistic director and founder, Mentor Artists Playwrights Project.

"We do a lot of varied things to help them become more well rounded individuals who are ready to conquer the world after high school," said Simila.

A playwright program, free to the public, will be at 2 p.m. at the Special Events Center at Boise State on Monday, June 24th, 2019.