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TSTC Recognizes Upward Bound High School Graduates

Saturday, May 25, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

UB GradsFor Melissa Manrique, higher education is about opportunity.

And the Upward Bound Coordinator at Texas State Technical College is a firm believer that students need to be made aware of those opportunities at an early age.

Upward Bound is a year-round program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The focus of Upward Bound is to identify high school students that are first-generation college students or meet income guidelines. The goal then is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education, enroll in and graduate from institutions of higher learning.

On Saturday, May 18, the TSTC Upward Bound program recognized 12 seniors from Harlingen, Harlingen South and San Benito High Schools that will graduate in the next couple of weeks from high school.

Denise Guevara graduated from Harlingen High in 2006 and was a product of the TSTC Upward Bound program. She completed her academic core at TSTC then transferred to the University of Texas-Pan American, where she completed her Bachelor’s in Nursing and is now a Registered Nurse at Mission Regional Medical Center in Mission.

Guevara served as the keynote speaker at the ceremony and delivered a riveting speech about the difference that Upward Bound made in her life.

“If it wasn’t for Upward Bound or other similar programs, I wouldn’t have known about the opportunities I had in college,” Guevara said.

The TSTC Upward Bound program has been around since 2003 and Manrique said the program has helped many students go to and stay in college.

Participants of the Upward Bound program attend Saturday classes once a month at TSTC and are required to go to tutoring sessions on their high school campuses. Once they’ve completed high school and the program, students are required to attend college in the summer at TSTC. The students are awarded scholarships for two classes and they receive help filling out financial aid and scholarship applications.

“I was an Upward Bound student too,” Manrique said. “It opens your eyes to college and what you thought was once impossible is in fact possible. It’s not that a lot of these kids don’t want to go; they don’t know what type of help is available. And that’s what Upward Bound does, it brings awareness and the staff here does a great job of motivating students and parents alike. It’s a continuous cycle of motivation that doesn’t stop around here.”

For more information on the TSTC Upward Bound Program, visit http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenupwardbound.

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