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Upward Bound: Preparing high school students for college

Ruth Young Tyler | 8/11/2017, 6 a.m.
After six-weeks of intensive sessions and college level coursework, 49 Baltimore County high school students graduated from the Community College ...
Baltimore County students completed a six-week college readiness program hosted by Upward Bound. Many of the students are the first generation to attend college. (Seated, left to right) Jamil Charles, Lucy Ekeh, Adia Mason and Milan Marseille. (Standing, left to right) Dana Thomas, Sherron Edwards, Director of CCBC Upward Bound; and Rico Dorsey, a summer bridge student. Ruth Young Tyler

Many of the students learned about the program through word-of-mouth, like 18-year-old Rico Dorsey, whose godfather participated in the program 10 years ago. Rico has participated in the program for three years as a student at Milford Mill Academy. This summer he returned to serve as a summer bridge student.

“It’s a place of peace, as long as you create the atmosphere,” he said. Rico established networks with other Upward Bound scholars that he went through the program with and they remain in contact.

Michael Thompson, residential director of CCBC Upward Bound program and residential assistant Danielle Jordan organized academic activities, coordinated collegiate workshops and invited several guest speakers, including a local attorney, April Watts, radio personality of Magic 95.9 and Nadir Nasheed, director of Trading Places Mentoring Academy.

Thompson hopes that by broadening their career scope, the students will take advantage of opportunities that are presented to them.

“In addition to learning in school, we want our scholars to educate themselves outside of the school environment,” he said.

Lucy Ekeh raced at the opportunity to attend the summer intensive program. She was accepted into the program and less than a month later she moved into a dorm room. Unlike some other Upward Bound scholars, both of Lucy’s parents graduated from college in Nigeria. Combining her athleticism with academics, the incoming senior at Landsdowne High School is interested in studying law.

“The top three things I gained from the program is a sense of guidance, preparation and responsibility,” said Ekeh. She said her organization and planning skills has increased significantly since the start of the program.