Upward Bound students had a great start to the academic year last semester. We kicked off the semester with a visit to the University of Indianapolis. Students toured the campus, explored a dorm room, and asked questions at the admissions presentation. During the visit, some students decided that they wanted to attend the University of Indianapolis when they graduate from high school. Later in the semester, students also had the opportunity to visit Ball State University, where we learned about the campus, Lady Liberty, and the many majors, sports, and organizations they have to offer.
In addition to offering college visits this fall, we encouraged students to attend the College Prep Conference and College Fair at the Indiana Convention Center. This opportunity exposed and provided students with information about the many colleges and universities in and out of state.
During the fall semester, we continued to offer weekly tutoring, along with biweekly workshops featuring study skills, time management, and college and career readiness. Along with tutoring, workshops are offered twice a month and are referred to as "Super Tutoring." As you may already know this year, instead of having two Academic Themed Saturday (ATS) sessions, we now have one a month. During this ATS, we focus on core classes along with college and career readiness, as well as presentations and guest speakers. Now that we have gone down to one Saturday a month, it is even more imperative that students make every effort to attend. At the ATS in November, we celebrated First-Generation Day by inviting our students and parents to the campus for planned activities. Some of our students read their “I Am Able” essays and expressed their determination to succeed. We also wrote aspiring notes, attached them to first-generation balloons, and released them on campus. This day was a celebration of all first-generation students.
At Upward Bound, we not only focus on strong academics and instilling a drive to attend college but we also want our students to be well-rounded socially and culturally. To help achieve this, we offer many cultural events and activities throughout the semester. Students attended musicals, including The Wiz and Elf the Musical. A group of students also attended A Dance in History, sponsored by the Libada Dance Company at Marian University. This performance took us through the evolution of music and dance. Another cultural event we attended was the 7th Annual Indianapolis Chinese Festival, where we saw dragon and lion dancers, Chinese games, arts, and crafts, in addition to sampling Chinese cuisine. We also hosted a dinner at a Salvadorian restaurant, La Guanaquita. The students who attended sampled different types of pupusas, a thick flatbread stuffed with ingredients, and fried plantains.
To end the fall semester, Upward Bound hosted a holiday party at the last ATS of the semester. From the taco-themed potluck to the cookie decorating station, students and families seemed to enjoy the festivities while coming together as an Upward Bound family to celebrate. After a great fall semester, we are ready to spring forward into an awesome and eventful spring.