Students from around West Virginia were on the D&E Campus Wednesday for the annual Upward Bound Olympics. The event allows students to challenge each other in athletic and academic events. Upward Bound leaders said the wide range of events helps expose the students to new experiences.
"I think there's a lot of opportunities for the students to try new things, and also to really get a chance to compete with people around the state and meet people from around the state," said WVU Upward Bound's Landon Southerly
Even though Upward Bound primarily focuses on college prep, staff said there are valuable lessons for students to learn, since many of them may not have experience in competitions.
"It allows them to experience competition and to experience putting on that risk-taking shoe and trying to win for themselves as well as a group," said Carol Suder-Howes, director of the D&E Upward Bound program.
But most of all, Southerly said the Upward Bound Olympics give kids a chance to boost their confidence. Even if they don't win their events, the students still get to meet new people and experience an early taste of college life.
"You can go out and meet people from around the state and around the country, and I think the main message is that you're going to be okay, you're going to be fine. For some of our kids, that's a big thing to see that they can take the leap, make the leap, and have a lot of support and encouragement along the way to make that leap," said Southerly.