Upward Bound Wraps up with Summer Trip

August 15, 2012

Upward Bound Wraps up with Summer Trip

VALDOSTA -- High school students with Valdosta State University’s Upward Bound (UB) program wrapped up the 2012 academic year with a summer trip to California.

During the trip, which took place June 26-30, the students toured California State University, Fullerton; University of Southern California; and University of California, Los Angeles.

“The trip allowed the students to gain exposure to universities they had not been to before -- some they may have considered -- and others they may not have been so sure about,” said UB Director Dondraie Seay. “The students in this group have expressed interest in majors like international business, medicine and film. They were able to visit universities that focus on those areas. During the trip, they met several university students and gained insight about college life and what to expect.”

Seay added that the trip exposed the students to new cultural experiences.

“The students participated in cultural enrichment activities daily,” said Seay. “A professional tour guide, who handles tours for TRIO grant funded programs, guided the participants through Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Hollywood, pointing out several historical locations. One location was Hollywood High School, which was opened in 1903 and has a long list of notable alumni with varying careers.”

In addition, the students visited Paramount Studios and learned about the production process for movies and television shows. They also toured Disney Land and learned about daily operations, which Seay explained was particularly insightful for students who expressed interest in international business.

The students were chaperoned by members of the UB Parent Advisory Board and UB staff members.

The summer trip included the Rising Stars Class of 2012, as well as upcoming juniors and seniors who have participated in VSU’s UB program. In the past, the summer trip has only included seniors in the Rising Stars class.

“Because this was the last trip before the program’s closeout at VSU, it was opened up to more than just the senior participants,” Seay explained. “The trip was very enlightening and very successful.”

Since 2007, VSU’s Upward Bound program has been funded by a $1 million TRIO grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The program has helped more than 100 local college-bound students in ninth through 12th grade develop the skills necessary to succeed beyond high school. Participating Upward Bound students have attended after-school study sessions, Saturday learning sessions with tutors and advisors and preparation courses for the SAT, ACT and Georgia High School Graduation Test. 

VSU will continue its community and educational outreach efforts through the new Educational Talent Search program, an initiative that is also funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Talent Search identifies students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in a college or university and provides academic, career and financial counseling. In addition to academic assistance and career and financial counseling, the Talent Search program will provide opportunities for college tours and exposure to cultural enrichment. The goal of the program is to identify students who have the talent or potential for success in college but for any number of reasons don’t perceive themselves to be individuals that could succeed in the postsecondary setting. Once identified, the goal is to increase the persistence and graduation rates as well as the college attendance rates of those students.

Services provided by the Talent Search program include career exploration and aptitude assessment, exposure to college campuses, assistance in completing college admissions and financial aid applications, assistance in preparing for college entrance exams, mentoring programs and workshops for the families of participants.

The five-year $1.15 million project will serve students from the Valdosta Early College Academy, Valdosta Middle and High Schools, Newbern Middle School and Brooks County Middle and High Schools.

Seay was recently named director of the Talent Search program.

For more information, contact the Office of Social Equity at (229) 333-5463.