SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Since 1965, Upward Bound at Le Moyne College has helped local high school students successfully get into college. The program, which operates out of Romero Hall on Le Moyne’s campus, provides tutoring and college prep assistance to low-income, first-generation students in Central New York.
“Based on the geographics of this area…poverty, lack of education…so forth and so on, these types of programs are very needed,” Program Director Kenyon Black said.
He said last year 100 percent of students enrolled in Upward Bound graduated high school and went onto college. In a city like Syracuse, where the high school graduation rate is about 60 percent, a program like this can be invaluable, he added.
“I’m giving these kids opportunities that they could not get on their own,” Black said. “And when they come back and they send me emails, and they send me thank you letters, that is my pay.”
Students apply for the program by going through steps very similar to the college application process. They write an essay, send their transcript and get interviewed by Black or one of his colleagues.
“This program is necessary, because a lot of kids are not being prepared for the next step,” Black said. “They don’t know how to navigate, how to advocate (for themselves).”
Many Upward Bound students decide to attend either Le Moyne College or Syracuse University. Nineteen members of the 2019 Upward Bound class opted to stay home for college.
“I’m so grateful for Upward Bound, because honestly, if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have been at this college,” said Nicole Graine, a sophomore at Syracuse University.
Graine is also a member of the Syracuse University Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which provides economically disadvantaged students in New York a chance at earning a college degree. She’s studying psychology with the hopes of getting into medical school and one day becoming a psychiatrist.