GCC Upward Bound Students Wind Up a Stellar Summer

Student-made Video Vies for National Win and a Trip to D.C.

Batavia, NY- The 88 students from Genesee and Wyoming Counties who participated in this summer’s TRiO Upward Bound program at Genesee Community College from June 30 - July 31, 2014 might need a few days to catch their breath as the program packed with dynamic learning and growing experiences concludes. Filmmaking, newsletter and yearbook production, bird banding, conversing in Japanese, re-writing history and final field trips were among the many educational encounters that complemented the core coursework in science, math, English, history and foreign language.

To recognize Upward Bound’s (UB) nationwide 50th anniversary, as well as the 15th anniversary of Genesee Community College’s UB program, filmmaking students created a 4-minute video to enter into the “UB 50th Anniversary Video Contest” through the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). GCC’s entry is the only finalist from New York State and is currently competing against 54 other Upward Bound video entries from across the nation. The general public can help the local contender by “liking” the video through YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/gccupwardbound.

Forty percent of the video’s final score depends on YouTube approvals and the deadline to vote is Monday, August 11, 2014. The winners earn a trip to Washington D.C. to the COE Conference and will potentially meet President Obama.

“I want our kids to go Washington,” Upward Bound Director Barb Sadden said enthusiastically, encouraging everyone in the community to vote on the YouTube link and spread the word throughout their network of family and friends. “It has been a fantastic year and this would really tie together everyone’s hard work and dedication.”

Other summer 2014 UB initiatives included:
•A 10-page Dnoub Drawpu Newsletter (that’s Upward Bound spelled backwards)
•The “I am Kaizen Continuous Improvement” Summer Yearbook
•The “Re-Writing History” essay book featuring more than 100 pages of historically-based stories largely written in the first person with fresh perspectives
•Contributing to GCC’s nest and nest box monitoring study around the main campus, which included banding birds with GCC’s telecommunications manager Tom Klotzbach
•A new Hisics course that combines history and physics
•Participating in Conversation Buddies that helped GCC’s new class of Japanese students appreciate American culture and polish their English speaking skills
•Visiting the Corning Museum of Glass (freshmen class)
•Overnight visit to Erie, Pennsylvania (upper classmen) to visit SUNY Fredonia, Penn State Behrend, and St. Bonaventure.

TRiO Upward Bound is a federally-funded program of the U.S. Department of Education that aims to provide educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged students who have the desire to become the first generation in their family to pursue college education. Upward Bound is one of three federal outreach programs, dubbed “TRiO,” developed in the 1960s. Eight programs are now part of TRiO.
Nationwide, there are more than 700 Upward Bound programs from Hawaii to Maine, including Guam and Puerto Rico.

Genesee Community College has two Upward Bound Programs. The first began in 1999 and serves fifty 9th-12th grade students in Wyoming County from the school districts of Attica, Letchworth, Perry, and Warsaw. The second program, serving approximately 60 high school students in Genesee County (Alexander, Oakfield-Alabama, and Batavia School Districts), began in September 2012. “It was monumental for us to receive the new grant to serve Genesee County,” said Sadden. “Just 5% of those applying for new grants received them. The Education Department scores the grant applications and only awards grants to those that achieve a perfect score.”

Upward Bound recruits students in February of their 8th grade year. “What we look for is desire,” said Sadden. “The students have to have an expressed desire to go on to college and then we help them cultivate their goal of getting either a two-year or four-year degree.”

Another recent accomplishment was receiving a $500 grant from the Wyoming County Partners for Prevention Coalition which focuses on healthy, responsible living. Genesee and Wyoming County UB students will have multiple entries for an upcoming poster design competition that will highlight the many dangers of gambling addiction.

The robust summer programs of Upward Bound continue in high schools this fall. Upward Bound advisors meet with students weekly, keeping track of the classes they take, providing tutoring, and helping them prepare for college entrance exams. The students are also strongly encouraged take GCC courses through the College’s ACE program.

GCC has a strong track record of success in its Upward Bound program, with 95% of students enrolling in college and 85% completing a degree. For more information, contact Upward Bound Director Barb Sadden at (585) 786-2830, bcsadden@genesee.edu or Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.