For many students, like recent Tucker County High School graduate Troy Young, going to college isn't high on their list of things to do. But thanks to the efforts of the Upward Bound program at Davis and Elkins College, it's now the next step in Young's life, a step he may not have taken without the experience the program provides.
"it was actually my first summer I spent with Upward Bound. I got to meet new people, live in the dorms, realized I loved the college life, and I just loved being here, so that was when I was like 'OK, maybe I should give it a try,'" said Young.
Students who participate in the Upward Bound program start early in high school. They set aside six weeks out of the summer to take extra classes, which helps them keep up on their academics as they prepare to apply or even attend college. But program director Carol Suder-Howes says academics aren't the only focus. She wants students to be aware of the challenges of college life outside the classroom.
"Maybe it's healthy relationships, maybe it's drug usage, how to handle those situations, so it's a very complicated curriculum of not only addressing academics, but social issues and health issues," said Suder-Howes.
Young graduated this spring and is now in the bridge program as he prepares for his first semester at D&E. Young is the first person in his family to go to college. He said none of this would have happened without the influence of Upward Bound.
"Before the program, I wasn't really looking towards the college direction, I was just trying to get out of high school. But then Katy, Ali, all of them kind of steered me in the right direction and I'm here today because of Upward Bound," Young said.