In this series, we will spotlight Upward Bound students, staff, and partners as we celebrate 50 years of the program at Appalachian State University. These conversations are meant to illustrate the legacy of the program on some of the many western North Carolinians impacted by Upward Bound. This is the fourth post in our series. To read more about the golden anniversary of Upward Bound, visit our website.
Upward Bound students typically join the program during the second semester of their freshman (and sometimes sophomore) year of high school. Qualifying students must complete an application, submit a teacher recommendation, and participate in an interview with UB academic advisors. Once admitted to the program, students are expected to make a commitment through their high school graduation of attending weekly advising sessions, monthly weekend academies throughout the year, and a six-week immersive summer session on the campus of Appalachian State. Not only do students receive academic advising, scholarship and college application assistance, cultural enrichment opportunities, and trips to college campuses across the region, but they also join a network of peers from other parts of the High Country and create lasting relationships and connections they will value for a lifetime.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Upward Bound at Appalachian State University, we are highlighting the importance and impact of the program. These posts include candid conversations with people directly involved with Upward Bound as they speak to how the program impacted them personally. Our next conversation is with current Upward Bound student, Edgar Sandoval-Rodriguez. In light of a global pandemic, Upward Bound has allowed him to grow in unexpected ways and to connect with like-minded individuals centered around a common drive.
Please describe your experiences with Upward Bound.
I have been involved with UB since the summer of 2020. I’ve had a great time in Upward Bound, even if it was limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve met amazing people from all around. I've had a great time in Upward Bound, even if most of the time it's been online in meets. My RAs were very helpful, and the staff is as well.
What are some memories you have of the program? What stories do you remember?
I met a lot of cool, talented, and amazing people. With them we made amazing memories, from jackbox messing around to serious life lessons. I remember the joke in our atom groups was to pick on RA Dylan.
What is the impact of Upward Bound on you ?
It got me to really open up after closing up because the COVID-19 quarantine hit on my birthday. It gave me that extra push that was stripped from me due to COVID-19.
What do you perceive the legacy of Upward Bound to be?
I believe it’s a program that helps those on a path to college, but also brings us students together in the path of a common goal.
Edgar is a current 11th grader at Watauga High School, and he hopes to go to college to pursue a career in law enforcement after graduation.