Area students complete Upward Bound Program at Saint Francis University

Seven area high school students participated in Upward Bound’s 41st annual summer program at Saint Francis University.
They include: Caitlinn Dillon, a rising senior at Tyrone Area High School; Jenna Dillon, a rising senior at Tyrone Area High School; Felicia Fisher, a rising junior at Tyrone Area High School; Amanda Grassmyer, a rising junior at Tyrone Area High School; Rachel Maceno, a rising senior at Tyrone Area High School; and David Ralston, a rising junior at Bellwood-Antis High School.
Another area student, Kristen Gurekovich, a recent graduate of Tyrone Area High School, also participated in the program. In the fall Kristen will enroll at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, majoring in aeronautical engineering.
From June 18 – July 28 participants resided on the campus of Saint Francis University, attending five classes a day. Course selection during the 2006 Summer Program ranged from Geometry, Forensic Science, Spanish III, Gothic Novel: Ghost Stories, and Art to Calculus, Physics, 1950s America, The Chronicles of Narnia, and College Writing. As a Bridge student, Kristen was enrolled in two college courses, Introduction to Literature and Principles of Economics, offered through the University’s Continuing Education Department. In addition to a challenging curriculum, students participated in a variety of activities, including a production of Grease at the Benedum Theater, a Living Wax Museum, and a tour of the Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. At the conclusion of the summer program, the students traveled to Canada to view Niagara Falls and learn about its history.
Created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War of Poverty,” Upward Bound’s mission is to generate in eligible high school students the skills and motivation necessary for success in college. Originally funded in 1966, the Saint Francis University Upward Bound Program has provided services to more than 2,000 students from Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lancaster, and Somerset Counties; currently, the program serves 85 students from Blair and Cambria Counties. On average, 93 percent of program graduates pursue a postsecondary degree; by contrast, only 51 percent of target area seniors pursue a postsecondary degree. After completing high school, 76 percent of Upward Bound graduates earn a college degree within five years. Nationally, only 19 percent of low income students earn a bachelor’s degree, while just 27 percent of first generation college students are expected to earn a bachelor’s degree.