Hope College Upward Bound, a college-readiness program for high school students, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a banquet at the Holiday Inn in Holland on Friday, June 5, that will draw alumni from three decades.
Hope College Upward Bound began in the summer of
1968, as a residential program attended by 12 students. The
program now runs during the school year and summer alike,
and will host 65 students when the 1998 summer session
begins on June 15.
Since its inception, the program has worked with
more than 1,100 students. Some 300 are expected to attend
the banquet, including not only alumni, but also current
students, staff members and others with an interest in the
Master of ceremonies for the banquet will be A.
Edward Sosa of Jenison, a 1973 graduate of West Ottawa High
School who participated in Hope College Upward Bound that
same year. The banquet will also feature reflections by
past participants in the program.
The keynote speaker will be Alfred Ramirez, who is
executive director with "Hand in Hands, Parents, Schools and
Communities United for Kids." Ramirez participated in an
Upward Bound program in his native East Los Angeles. His
career has included serving as a faculty advisor and
assistant director for admissions and minority recruitment
for Columbia University, of which he is a graduate; as
special assistant to the mayor of San Antonio, Texas; and as
a special assistant to the president and associate director
in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and as
executive director of the White House Initiative on
Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Hope College Upward Bound seeks to generate the
skills and motivation necessary for success in education
beyond high school among students from low-income and first-
generation families who have the potential to pursue a
college education but lack adequate preparation. The goal
of the program is to increase the academic performance and
motivational levels of eligible students so that persons may
complete secondary schooling and successfully pursue post-
secondary educational programs.
Hope College Upward Bound works with students from
three school districts in Allegan and Ottawa counties,
including Holland, West Ottawa and Fennville. Although the
staff recruits students from the program's target area, many
participants are also recommended by counselors, teachers,
agencies and churches in the community.
During the last three years, the program has
achieved a 91 percent success rate in enrolling students in
While the focus of Upward Bound is on academic
advising and support, the program also continually offers
personal and career counseling as well as involvement in
cultural and recreational activities.
Throughout the school year, the participating
students come to Hope College twice a week to receive help
in their high school subjects from Hope College tutors. One
Friday or Saturday per month, the students meet for three
hours to attend workshops on topics such as goal-setting,
decision-making, the college search process, career
awareness and time management. A senior seminar which meets
once a week helps seniors with the college admission
process, financial aid and ACT/SAT testing.
The six-week summer residential program on the
Hope campus exposes students to the academic and social
world of college. Students live in a residence hall, attend
classes in the morning, and participate in career
internships and elective classes in the afternoon. Evenings
are set aside for study sessions and cultural activities.
In addition to the structured academic and social
activities, the Upward Bound students also volunteer for
many community projects, such as raking leaves and painting
homes for the elderly, and project Pride. They also hold
several fund-raisers throughout the year to raise money for
their cultural enrichment and college scholarship funds.
Hope College Upward Bound is funded through the
federal TRIO program. TRIO, so named because it originally
included three program types, is funded under Title IV of
the Higher Education Act of 1965. Nationwide, more than
1,750 TRIO programs serve nearly 700,000 low-income
Americans. The total includes approximately 600 Upward