Today I have a degree from Texas Tech University and I owe it all to Upward Bound. I remember the day when someone with information about Upward Bound visited my high school. I must have heard a promise that led me to call the program and ask for a seat. I'm glad I did. Those Saturday sessions changed my life. I learned so much during those two years and along the way I was being prepared for college almost without even knowing it. Outside of such a valuable program I never would have applied to Texas Tech. I recall earning good grades during that first real summer session and something clicked. I realized if I kept working hard I could earn a college degree. Halfway through I had trouble obtaining financial aid and thought it was all over. I went to the Upward Bound office in tears. The Upward Bound Director, Eric Strong, assured me I wouldn't have to drop out and something would come through that same day. I stayed in college and was one of the first students accepted into the Ronald E. McNair program at Texas Tech University.
Somehow I managed to hold two good jobs throughout college. I worked for an Optometrist and at University Hospital in Lubbock. I also taught group exercise classes and worked for free at a TV station. Upward Bound instilled in me a drive to make all things possible.
During one Saturday session at Upward Bound we met comedian Paul Rodriguez. The photo we took is in my living room. I met Rodriguez again several years ago at KENS 5, where I work as a reporter. Stand-up comedy is something I had always wanted to do. A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a course and I now perform a 5 to 10 minute monologue once or twice a month for fun.
Thanks to Upward Bound I have worked as a full-time TV reporter for 11 years and in December of 2008, I self-published my first book. Some Monument To Last is a true story about how finding what you want in life starts with following your dreams.
Today, I still have a number of big dreams. Law School is often in the back of my mind and thanks to Upward Bound, if I really want it, I know it can be done. That's the promise I heard that day in High School.
Facts about Upward Bound: Source TRIO
Students in the Upward Bound program are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO.
Nearly 20 percent of all Black and Hispanic freshmen who entered college in 1981 received assistance through the TRIO Talent Search or EOC programs.
Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college, than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.
Federal TRIO Programs include: Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans' Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic assistance in high school or assistance to reenter high school or college.