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$1.25M to help local students

Upward Bound program helps 60 Golden Valley High students each year prepare for higher education

Posted: September 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

With a $1.25 million federal grant, College of the Canyons and Golden Valley High School are teaming up to create hundreds of first-generation college graduates, officials said Tuesday.

“We are excited about the Upward Bound program, which will serve 60 Golden Valley High School students each year over the next five years,” said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The grant funds workshops, tutoring and mentoring opportunities for 60 students each year for the next five years.

“If we can get these kids, moms and dads to envision (college) and then we provide opportunities for them to explore, we know they’ll become engaged,” said Carrie Lynne Draper, Upward Bound project director for College of the Canyons.

Filling out financial-aid applications and reading transcripts will be among the skills explained to parents and students, Draper said.

The first “class” of students was selected from the high school’s five-year-old GOALS program, which stands for Golden Opportunities for Academic Learning and Success.

The program was created to address students who arrived at Golden Valley High School struggling academically, according to Golden Valley Principal Sal Frias.

About 20 percent of the school’s population was coming in without having successfully completed its junior high education, Frias said, and 20 percent of those students were leaving high school without a diploma.

“Kids want to come to high school thinking they’re going to get a fresh start,” Frias said. “But if that fresh start doesn’t address problems with study skills or any other problems that they already have, then that fresh start doesn’t happen.”

The GOALS program was created to help these students in high school, and Upward Bound will offer guidance for the college process.

While students who complete the program successfully will likely be able to attend COC, students will be encouraged to explore all of their options, said Omar Torres, COC dean of mathematics, sciences and engineering, who spearheaded the Upward Bound effort.

“We just want to make sure we’re able to track them and that they are pursuing post-secondary education,” Torres said.



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