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Upward Bound provides opportunities
In addition to planning for college, Shawn Bennett is very involved in the MVHS Robotics Club.
As part of his preparation for college work, Travis Ford takes a test in honors chemistry.
RUMFORD -- What do 645 teenagers, one hotel, and three days of awesomeness add up to?
According to the UMF Upward Bound facebook page, it is the formula for a recent TRiO Day workshop in New Hampshire.
Two Mountain Valley High School students joined peers from all over New England to learn about the many aspects of academic, professional, and personal development. Juniors Shawn Bennett and Travis Ford used three days of their February break to learn more about the college experience.
Bennett recalls, “I started in Farmington at the UMF campus on Wednesday. We picked up more kids at the Jay McDonald’s and at Food City in Turner. We then headed to Portsmouth, NH where we spent the night.”
After arriving in Portsmouth, Bennett continued, “We then went to the University of NH to have dinner and to go see a UNH production of ‘Spring Awakening.’ The next morning, we went to the Radisson Hotel in Nashua were the TRiO Day would be conducted. When we got there, they were about to start to send kids off on their college tours. My Upward Bound Advisor had sent us an email earlier of choices of colleges that we would be able to choose from. My choices were Dartmouth University, Plymouth State University and University of New England. I went on the Plymouth State University tour.”
Ford toured Keene State College. He explained, “I learned about Keene’s architect program. It’s very in-depth and isn’t all about designing buildings, it even has a safety rescue course.”
Bennett described his tour. “The University was quite large and had a very warm feeling like you would get when walking into your home. The college tour guides were very insightful and took us everywhere. We saw the classrooms, dorms, recreation areas, library, the gymnasium and some other places. The college was very clean and orderly and had a very nice environment and surroundings.”
After the tour, it was back to the hotel for what teenagers like to do – eat, play games, including Jeopardy, dance and socialize.
Bennett continued, “The next morning we had the different workshops to attend and the college fair were you could go and talk to representatives from different collages all over New England. Then we headed back to Maine.”
Both young men attended a workshop entitled, "Princeton Review's Strategies & Tips for a Higher Score: A closer look at the SAT and ACT.” In addition, Bennett went to "How Engineers and Scientists Solve Problems with Mathematics Using Soap Bubbles.”
Ford said, “I learned about the difference between SAT and ACT test and how stress can be good if managed well.”
Bennett’s plans for the future are a little vague. “After MVHS, I plan to go to college and get a degree in some field. I have not chosen a major yet because I am still looking.”
Programs like Upward Bound and TRiO Day are designed to help students get a sharper focus on preparing for higher education and the process to get there.
Bennett concluded, “I think the trip helped solidify my plans to go to college. But I now realize there are so many great colleges with so many choices to choose from. I am really going to have to think hard about where I am going to go and what I am going to do. The trip in the end was well worth going and experiencing.”
Both young men enjoyed the trip. Ford summarized, “What stuck out about the trip was meeting new people and seeing everyone collaborate to do this event. The entire thing was a lot of fun but there was a lot of driving time.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education website, “The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.”
UMF Upward Bound is a TRIO program. It operates year round. During the school year, services are offered at the high schools and on the UMF campus. An intensive six-week residential program takes place at UMF during the summer. The University of Maine at Farmington Upward Bound Project aggressively identifies, recruits and selects participants in the program. Interested students can call the Upward Bound office or contact Peggy LaPointe at MVHS.