The Wayne-Westland Community Schools district has been awarded a federal Upward Bound grant of $2,116,145 from the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant will help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees to prepare for and enroll in college, a district spokesperson said. The Wayne-Westland Community Schools Upward Bound program has been in continuous operation for 40 years.
Upward Bound, is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree.Many Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, including Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, correspondent for ABC News John Quiñones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing.
“Our students make a four-year commitment when they join our program and are required to complete an extra academic class every semester, a six-week summer program, and monthly community service. They also must maintain their GPAs, attend tutoring, attend multiple educational and cultural field trips, participate in college visits, and have continued involvement in school and community activities,” said Yvette Jonna-Moore, Wayne-Westland Community Schools Upward Bound director.
“All of their hard work pays off, and we are thrilled with our student achievement and outcomes. Our recently graduated Class of 2022 comprised 26 students who applied to 271 colleges and earned a record $9.4 million in scholarships. They have all committed to attending college next year. They will represent Wayne-Westland Community Schools at various institutions including all three University of Michigan campuses, Williams College, Michigan State, Wayne State University, Northern Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Lawrence Technological University, Pratt Institute, and others,” she said.
Upward Bound programs instruct students in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students preparing for college entrance exams and tackling admission applications, financial aid, and scholarship forms.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86 percent of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In 2021, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound projects in the United States.