Twenty-eight seniors, from high schools in the Lansing School District, gathered at the Kellogg Center on Monday, May 5, for the annual Upward Bound Senior Recognition Dinner.
“This event gives our Upward Bound seniors the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with each other as well as with family members,” Glenda Hammond, director of MSU’s Upward Bound program, said. “It serves as the kick-off for their high school graduation celebrations.”


Paj Yang Dada, a 1990 Everett High School graduate and Upward Bound alumni, spoke to the attendees about her experience in Upward Bound and how it helped her throughout college and in her successful career as an electrical engineer at a variety of employers, including Chrysler, General Motors and the City of Detroit. She encouraged the seniors to persevere and never give up regardless of the obstacles they may encounter along the way.


Each senior was individually recognized for their achievements and shared their goals and dreams for the future, as well as their immediate college plans. Additionally, each senior received a personal tribute from state Senator Gretchen Whitmer and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.


Upward Bound students spend time on MSU’s campus every Monday afternoon during the school year to participate in tutorial sessions, academic counseling, and enrichment activities. Tutoring and academic counseling is provided by the professional staff and MSU upper class and graduate students. Enrichment activities include speakers from traditional and non-traditional career areas, visits from college and university recruiters, group discussions and field trips.


Beyond the weekly sessions at MSU, the 2014 graduating seniors participated in the following Upward Bound experiences from their sophomore year through their senior year:
• Major study trips to Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
• Annual Student Leadership Conference for the Michigan Chapter
• TRiO Day Celebrations, Career Fair and Camp Kiwanis
• Job Shadowing/Work Study Program – Lansing City Council and MSU Student Support Services
• College Buddies Day – Upward Bound students attended MSU classes with their mentors
• Service learning, archery, sailing, golf and community service activities
• Academic enrichment, evaluation, ACT prep, financial literacy and counseling
• MSU Legacy Awards for qualified students
• Personal development – counseling workshop series on various topics


“I am proud to report that 97 percent of our 2014 class is graduating from high school on schedule and 97 percent of our graduating seniors have been accepted to college,” Hammond. “Ten of our graduating seniors will be attending MSU, 12 will be attending Lansing Community College and six will be attending other four-year colleges. Congratulations to all of our 2014 graduating seniors on a job well-done!”


For nearly 50 years, MSU’s Upward Bound program has helped hundreds of high school youth in the Lansing area from low-income families, and/or families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree, to complete high school and enter a post-secondary educational institution. This is accomplished by providing fundamental support and academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, career exploration, cultural enrichment, and work-study programs are also offered. The Upward Bound Program at Michigan State University motivates talented students from low-income families to complete high school and enter a post-secondary educational institution. Using Federal TRiO program funds, and resources from Michigan State University, the program identifies students in the Lansing area and assists them in developing the academic and social skills necessary for matriculation in post-secondary education.


Photos from the 2014 Upward Bound Senior Celebration can be viewed here.


For more information about MSU’s Upward Bound program, visit www.upwardbound.msu.edu.