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Upward Bound Provides Gateway to College

Upward Bound Provides Gateway to College

Posted: August 2, 2019

Forty Buffalo Public Schools students just wrapped up a six-week summer residency program at SUNY Buffalo State, taking a full slate of core academic classes with certified BPS teachers and getting a taste of college by living in the residence halls.

Through the federally funded Upward Bound program, qualified ninth- through 12th-graders at McKinley, Lafayette, and East high schools received tutoring, personal development workshops, and help with career planning, among other campus services. Ninety-seven students participated for the 2018–2019 academic year.

One of eight federal TRIO programs designed for disadvantaged students, Upward Bound aims to expose students attending inner-city high schools to the benefits of college, said Donald Patterson, who has served as the director of Buffalo State’s Upward Bound program since 2001.

“What makes Upward Bound work year after year is that students jump right into an environment where the reward is their success,” Patterson said. “They get up early to take classes, learn to live with other students, and do homework each night. It’s great preparation for college.”

The summer program helps students hone their academic skills and introduces them to arts opportunities such as dance, TV production, and singing classes. For an increasing number of immigrant students, Upward Bound also provides a chance to improve their English language skills.

To qualify for the program, students must come from low-income families in which neither parent has earned a college degree. An impressive 93 percent of participants who completed last year’s Upward Bound program have enrolled in college. This is a little above the average 90 percent college enrollment rate for Upward Bound graduates, many of whom choose Buffalo State. 

This year’s Upward Bound students will celebrate the completion of their program during a banquet on Thursday, August 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall. Keynote speaker New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, ’74, ’02, will receive the 2019 Hal D. Payne Educational Opportunity Lifetime Service Award. Peoples-Stokes earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in student personnel administration from Buffalo State.

“We selected Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes because, like Hal D. Payne, whom the award is named for, and previous recipients, she has dedicated her life to leveling the playing field for those who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised,” Patterson said. “Peoples-Stokes’s legislative work in the New York State Assembly has provided educational opportunities for countless people in the city of Buffalo and throughout the state. Her efforts have helped secure funding for the Say Yes to Education Buffalo endowment and the Excelsior Scholarship. Our students, along with students at other institutions, are able to pursue higher education and change their lives for the better because of her work.”

Also during the banquet, 2019 McKinley High School graduate and incoming Buffalo State freshman Zyon Kincannon will receive the $1,000 Hal D. Payne Scholarship. Funded by Joe Carubba, president and CEO of Carubba Collision, the annual scholarship is named in honor of the former vice president for student affairs at Buffalo State.

To learn more, please visit the Upward Bound website.

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