57 High Schoolers at Northwestern for Upward Bound Summer Camp

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57 High Schoolers at Northwestern for Upward Bound Summer Camp

High school students from Alfalfa, Major and Woods counties are now on the Northwestern Oklahoma State University campus participating in the Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science summer camp.

            Jaunita Seevers, the program’s director, said 57 students currently are participating in the program, but the goal is to reach 100. Seevers said that it is not too late for students to get involved and participate in the classes and activities planned each week through July 18.

Upward Bound
Area high school students attending Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Upward Bound summer camp show off the trophy their group won following the first “Team Challenge” Sunday. Competing in the “Sunday Team Challenge” as a group for the remainder of the camp are Katie Kirkpatrick (front), Alva; Trenton Soules, Cherokee; Dillon Freeman, Alva; Kristina Trammell, Helena (Timberlake); Malissa Corr, Alva; Cameron Cunningham, Upward Bound team leader; and Cristal Navarro, Ringwood. Each Sunday, eight to 10 groups of students will merge their academic and athletic abilities for the various challenges.
Willie Spears speaking
Willie Spears speaks to the more than 50 high school students attending Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Upward Bound summer camp Monday about how their successes or failures are in their hands and no one else’s, and to never let anyone tell them they cannot succeed.

            Seevers explained that students eligible for the free program are those known as “rising 9th or 10th graders.” To receive the greatest benefit from the program, it is recommended that students join as freshmen, so they will enjoy support through their high school graduation. Upward Bound can only register students into this program while they are of freshmen or sophomore status.

            “The program is designed for students who have plans of going to college,” Seevers said. “Many of the students are first-generation college prospects that will benefit from academic, social, cultural and leadership skills. Upward Bound works with each student and builds a plan, so the student will have the necessary tools to do better in high school.”

            The ultimate goal of the program at Northwestern is to increase the rate at which participants graduate from high school and then enroll in and graduate from college.

            Seevers said there are two ways to qualify for the program, and students must meet at least one of them. Students must be first generation college prospects whose parents may have attended college, but didn’t complete a bachelor’s degree. The other way to qualify is by income guidelines. 

Upward Bound programs provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment and work-study programs also are supported.

            Students receive instruction in reading, writing, study skills and other subjects necessary for success in education beyond high school. Academic, financial or personal counseling is available.

            Seevers said the students are living in university housing while attending classes and taking part in various activities during the summer camp, all of which is free to them through this program. Students will be provided meals in the cafeteria, Monday through Friday. All planned trips and other services are free, too. Upward Bound is providing free transportation for the students from their respective schools to Northwestern and back each week.

            Seevers said that Upward Bound programs estimate that nearly $5,000 is spent per student in the program via lodging, meals, transportation, trips, tutoring, employee salaries and visiting the students at their local schools throughout the school year.

            Several teachers have signed on to help with the various academic programs included within the Upward Bound summer program, but Seevers said they really would like to have one more science teacher come on board to help. All instructors for the core subjects being taught must have a current Oklahoma teaching certificate or two years of college-level teaching experience. Two years of teaching experience is required in the core subject area of assignment.

            Besides the classes students will be attending, there will be group activities, motivational speakers, field trips, team-building activities, workshops, study time and free time. Students also will keep a journal during camp.

            Serving as a motivational speaker at the campus this week is 2000 Northwestern alumnus Willie Spears. Seevers and her staff heard Spears’ message in a class while he was speaking on campus in February and invited him to return to share that message with the high school students. These students also are being provided copies of Spears’ first book, Keisha’s Dilemma, so they can discuss the lessons that can be learned through various experiences of the characters in the book.

            Students also will be visiting Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom, the Ketterman Clinical Skills Lab at Northwestern’s campus in Enid, and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kan.

            The last week of camp in July will be spent in Denver, Colo., where the group will go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado Rockies baseball park where they will take in an evening ballgame, river rafting, Six Flags and possibly visit to the Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver, which is a tri-institutional campus.

            Seevers asked that any students or their parents interested in learning more about the program and how they can be a part, as well as anyone who might be interested in teaching classes or serving as peer counselors or tutors, to contact her office at 580-327-8113 or jrseevers@nwosu.edu.