Upward Bound helps students go to college

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Photo provided (From left): Emily Meade, Kalyn Vences, Miguel Guardado and Stephanie Hernandez-Barrales hold up shirts representing the schools they will be attending this fall. The four were part of a large celebration held on Saturday to recognize Upward Bound students who have been accepted into college.

BELOIT - "This program gives life to the hopes and dreams so many students have, but just don't know how to get."

That's how Upward Bound Director Vanessa Beckham described the college-readiness program that helps low-income and first-generation college students discover opportunities.

On Saturday, 11 Stateline Area students who have been receiving tutoring and resources through the federally-funded program shared some big news: they have been accepted into college.

A special "senior signing day" event was held for the dedicated high schoolers and their families to celebrate. It recognized their hard work, and also inspired younger students to think about their future.

"The signing day is a really nice platform for our seniors to talk about what it was like to go through the college application process and do a big reveal about what school they are going to," Beckham said.

The Upward Bound students who made their announcements were: Jennifer Aldama (UW-Eau Claire); Sandra Aldama (UW-Madison); Seleucid Contreras (Rock Valley College); Miguel Guardado (University of Illinois: Champaign); Stephanie Hernandez-Barrales (Washington University St. Louis); Londun Howard (UW-Parkside); Kathia Martinez (UW-Eau Claire); Emily Meade (Marian University); Triana Moffitt (Illinois State University); Rachel Patch (Iowa State University) and Kayln Vences (Beloit College).

This year's entire group of seniors earned more than $1.5 million in scholarships and institution-based grants.

"It's a really big celebration for us and we're so excited for everyone," Beckham said. "We'll be keeping track of all our students and our goal now is to help them graduate with their degrees."

For more information on Upward Bound, the application process and how to get involved, visit https://www.beloit.edu/upwardbound/ or call 608-363-2725.

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