UWA’s Upward Bound gives kids unique learning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

LIVINGSTON-Michael McKinney of Demopolis is just one of a hand full of local students that are getting a chance to experience things that they could never do elsewhere thanks to the Upward Bound program that the University of West Alabama holds every year.

“The Upward Bound program is a federally funded program that allows us to participate in things that we could never do before now,” McKinney said, while sitting in his Nutrition&Health class.

Franeshia Collier of Demopolis said she really enjoyed the electives that the program offered this year, especially Women’s Basketball with Coach Marks, the women’s coach of UWA.

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“He taught us a lot of the basics of basketball, which some of the coaches won’t take the time to teach us that,” Collier said.

Stephanie Hyche, consular of the Upward Bound program on the University of West Alabama’s campus is changing the lives of children from low-income families within a three county area with this federally funded program.

This program was first started in 1965 as part of the Higher Education Act, but it started on our campus in 1992, she said. The academic enrichment program is for high school age children in grades 10-12, who are first generation college students from low-income families.

“We have 78 students currently on campus participating in the program and they represent eight different high schools within three counties Marengo, Sumter, and Greene,” Hyche said.

The program requires them, during the regular school year to come to UWA at least once a month and then the summer program runs from May 31-July 16, she said. The students end their summer by going on a trip to Washington D.C. and taking in all that it has to offer.

“The program has enrichment classes for the students, as well as prep courses for the ACT and the Alabama High School Exit Exam,” Hyche said.

During the summer program, enrichment classes run from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., then the recreational classes are offered such as Yoga, Karate, Bowling, and many other sports and crafts, she said. They also get to go on field trips to museums, and visits to college campuses and many other things that will prepare them for their college life and experience.

“This program has helped so many children over the years experience things that they would normally never be able to do,” Hyche said.

Some of the new recruits to the program were attending a class called Dress for Success, in which the teachers were telling the students about the importance of dressing and proper eidetic for a job interview. One of those recruits, Jeremy Johnson of Livingston said he was in the ninth grade and he is one of the first ninth graders in the program.

“I’m learning so much from attending these classes,” Johnson said.

Macky Davis, one of the teachers in the class was once a member of the Upward Bound’s first class, back in 1992. This program has made a world of difference in my life, he said.

“I was so ready for school thanks to this program,” Davis said, “Because I was doing things way ahead of everyone else in my class.”