Lake County's High Schoolers Get to College Thanks to Upward Bound

llcupwardbound.jpgThe entire Upward Bound senior class, from both Upper Lake and Lower Lake High Schools, have worked a long, hard four years of high school to achieve their goal of graduating and enrolling in college. While the Lake County Upward Bound program celebrates its sixth year of success, the nation celebrates the program's 50th anniversary.

"Achieving educational equity in this country is still worth fighting for," said program director Shannon Smith. "There is no other social program I can think of that can pull a family out of poverty in one generation, the way that helping a young person get a college degree can do."

Upward Bound students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA, and cannot to receive less than a C in any core class. They are also encouraged to take Honors and Advanced Placement classes, perform community service, join clubs and sports, and serve as leaders in their school.

With the use of program funds, these Upward Bound seniors visited more than 30 college campuses in California, Oregon, and Nevada to help make an intelligent decision about what college is best for them.

Of the 22 seniors, 14 will attend a four-year university in the fall. The other eight will attend community colleges.This year's class also has the first Upward Bound student to go to school in Oregon, attending Southern Oregon University.

The other seniors will attend UC Berkley, UC Davis, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Humboldt, CSU East Bay, CSU Chico, Sacramento State, San Diego State, as well as several community colleges.

These students received more than $ 250,000 in scholarships, grants, and financial aid awards. Jordin Simons, Upward Bound student from Upper Lake High School, received the Buick Achievers Scholarship for up to $20,000 a year for four years. This is a highly competitive national scholarship program.

Upward Bound is an education focused support program that assists low income, first generation students prepare for a successful college education. Funding from the U.S. Department of Education is awarded to SSU, who partners with Lake County schools to deliver services to selected students.

ulupwardbound.jpegStatistics show that students from underrepresented groups, including low-income families, have more barriers to college enrollment and success. Upward Bound is designed to address these barriers and give students an opportunity to succeed. The Upward Bound program was born in 1964, as part of the "war on poverty" and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.

"In just six years of offering Upward Bound in Lake County, we have made a tremendous impact on the lives of the students served and expect to have our first college graduates in the coming year," said Smith.

"But the goal is also to change the culture of this community and give people hope that a better life can be achieved through education, for individuals and their families."

For more information about the program, visit or contact Shannon Smith at (707) 994-6471 ext. 2777 or

- Tietta Mitchell, Upward Bound Student, Lower Lake High School

Lake County high school seniors achieved much thanks to the Upward Bound program. Top is Lower Lake class and middle is Upper Lake class.

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