POLACCA-Upward Bound kicked off the school year with a gathering at Hopi High School Sept. 6.
Upward Bound is a program to help first generation and low income students prepare for college, get into college and graduate from college.
Diana Betoney, director of Upward Bound based out of Northern Arizona University (NAU), greeted everybody by calling them her Hopi High Upward Bound family. She thanked the students for taking on extra work to prepare them for junior college or university.
"You're giving a gift to yourself by doing the extra work," she said.
Betoney thanked the parents for encouraging their children and the teachers and staff for working with the students. She specifically thanked Hopi High site sponsor Noelle Wells, Hopi High principal Glenn Gilman and Hopi Jr/Sr High school superintendent Paul Reynolds for supporting the program.
The Upward Bound program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Betoney announced that Upward Bound has been funded for the next five years. Betoney's office serves Williams, Alchesay and Coconino high schools along with Hopi.
She noted that although the program is based out of NAU that they don't recruit for NAU and Upward Bound students are encouraged to explore all the choices open to them.
Betoney has been working with the Upward Bound program at Hopi High for 13 years.
"We follow the students through college and want to see them get their [degrees]," she said. "Our numbers have been inching up the last couple years."
Upward Bound students can participate in a portfolio program. These students receive three portfolio units each semester. When a student completes a unit, he or she qualifies for a $40 stipend.
The Upward Bound class, which includes sophomores, juniors and seniors, helps students discover their interests and what careers match those interests.
Moreover, it lets them know what education they need after high school to prepare for those careers. It also teaches them how to study.
Betoney noted that Upward Bound offers a five-week summer program at NAU. Students from five high schools-including Hopi High-were selected to attend.
Betony said this summer program, which allows students to live on the NAU campus, makes it easier for the students to transition into the college life. The summer program included field trips and guest speakers on various topics.
Betoney said Upward Bound teaches students independence, time management, discipline and public speaking.