Preparing them for the future

MARSHALL – The summer aspect of Upward Bound program began last Sunday in Marshall and will last an entire six weeks. Thirty-six ninth- through 12th-graders from both Marshall and Yellow Medicine East High School will be on SMSU’s campus until the program’s final week when they embark on a trip to the Black Hills and Crazy Horse.

The Upward Bound program is a federally-funded college preparatory program sponsored by Southwest Minnesota State University through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Students arrive each Sunday evening to prepare for their Monday classes. Breakfast is served at 8 a.m., with their first class starting at 9 a.m.. The last class of the day ends at 4 p.m., but they still are not done with their learning. Until 5 p.m., students have time to do their daily homework. Friday evenings they return home for the weekend.

The classes are taught in the subjects of math, laboratory science, composition, literature, reading, computer and Spanish. Each class runs about 50 minutes long with the exception of math and science, which is longer to allow time for labs. Five teachers are responsible for giving a hands-on learning environment.

“My favorite class is math. The teachers here are really nice and help you everyday,” said Muna Mohamed, a soon-to-be senior who has only missed one summer session throughout high school.

“We do everything we can from ninth grade on to help these kids make decisions about their future,” said Amy Nemitz, the assistant director for Upward Bound in Marshall. “Not only are there summer classes, but there are also college students available to tutor two days a week in the school year. We help with ACT prep and difficult decisions like choosing the right college.”

“Because of Upward Bound, I now plan on going to SMSU for my general classes and then transferring to MSU-Mankato to major in art education,” said Alatera McCann, a fourth-year student in the program.

The students have the opportunity to go on three field trips while attending Upward Bound. The first trip is next week from Thursday to Friday. An environmental, team-building camp called Prairie Woods in Spicer is the destination. While there, students have the opportunity to go canoeing, participate on a giant ladder course and stay overnight at a local state park.

On June 27, Upward Bound is headed to the Twins game, then the final trip to South Dakota is from July 8-11.

During each of their field trips, the students have the opportunity to tour colleges that are close to their destination.

“After students graduate, we check in on their progress throughout college. We like to know how long it takes them to graduate and how what we have done has helped them,” said Nemitz. “It’s interesting to see.”