Program gives high school students taste of college

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 1, 2003

Students from across the Tri-State will attend a different type of summer school next month -- one

that will give them a taste of college life.

From June 15 to July 25,

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43 sophomores and juniors representing 18 high schools from Appalachian Ohio, Kentucky and all of West Virginia will attend the Upward Bound Math Science Center at Shawnee State University.

The students will stay on campus to see what college life is like.

They will take courses that include forensics, environmental microbiology, geometry, herpetology, Japanese and computers to introduce them to what is required in an average college class.

"Upward Bound's Math Science program is designed to help students prepare for college, specifically in the math and science curriculum" said Ryan McCall, director of the program. "The students will take classes designed for them so they can get used to a college atmosphere, college professors and the pace of college courses."

Nine students will represent three local schools: Katie Johnson and Mary Sparks from Chesapeake High School; Talia Newman, Amanda Bocook and Jennifer Lewis from Dawson-Bryant High School and Betsy Malone, Stella Covelli, Jonathon Daniels and Kendall Morris from South Point High School.

School teachers and Upward Bound staff try to select students who will take full advantage of the program, McCall said.

"We give and all they have to do is take," he said. "Our hope is they are mature enough to take advantage of what is there for them."

The program is free to interested students who have met the guidelines, applied and have been selected to participate.

From talking with students who have participated, McCall said they have told him that the experiences have helped prepare them mentally and emotionally for higher education.

Eighteen-year-old Kendra Frazier of Chillicothe could not agree more. While participating in the program from 2000 until 2002, the Shawnee State early childhood education major said she learned invaluable life lessons.

"Upward Bound was probably the best thing I could have done,"she said. "I was a real homebody and was used to being at home a lot with my parents.

It really helped me be more relaxed coming into my freshman year."

Although the science and math courses were interesting and helpful in her preparation, Frazier said the life experiences were probably the most valuable part of the program.

Meeting people from so many different backgrounds was also valuable and the total experience allowed her to "learn about yourself."

Overall, Frazier said she would recommend the program to any students who plan to attend college.

"It was so much fun. I was one of those people who was like, 'I am just getting out of school for the summer, why do I want to go back for six weeks?'" she said. "But some of the things you do turns out be much more fun than you expected, such as hunting for fossils. It teaches you a lot while you are having fun."

In addition to other recreational opportunities on the weekends, such as camping, all of the students will visit Washington D.C. They will visit the Smithsonian Museum, the White House and meet with Congressman Ted Strickland.

The juniors and four high school seniors will go to Busch Gardens, the University of Virginia and Virginia Beach as an extra reward.

In its fourth year, the Upward Bound program is funded through the U.S. Department of Education. Within the next two weeks, they should find out if they will receive funding for another four- or five-year term, McCall said.