In 2003, Vaughn College implemented Upward Bound, a supplemental academic program aimed at preparing high school students for college life. In the past 10 years, hundreds of students have come to the College during the academic year and over the summer, to experience volunteer work, trips to local attractions including Broadway plays, and classes that can put them on the right track to a successful college career.
The program currently welcomes future first generation and low-income college students from Grover Cleveland and August Martin High Schools, both in Queens.. The courses offered change every year and are designed to illustrate the importance of a college degree to students who may not receive that information at home. During the program, students have the opportunity to work with program staff to fill out and submit college applications.
"Our students work very hard and push themselves to advance because they want to learn and be successful," says Christopher Salcedo, assistant director of Upward Bound. The program also offers college-credited courses to those who qualify.
The course list varies to accommodate the increased number of students who return to the program for multiple years. This year's schedule included bridge building, CATIA training, robotics and flight, as well as workshops like "insanity" fitness training, air traffic control and a pre-med track.
"Part of the reason this program continues to be successful is our staff who generally come from similar backgrounds as the students, and can relate to their situations," said Salcedo. The students take their newfound knowledge with them when they go off to college, or they can bring it back to Vaughn. "I'm proud to say that we've had several of our students attend Vaughn over the years."
The Upward Bound Program is funded by a Federal Grant, which was recently approved for a five-year renewal.
The summer 2013 Upward Bound class at Jacob Riis Park