Upward Bound for 40 years

Author: Shannon Chapla


Like hundreds of talented, diverse, well-rounded freshmen who will launch their college careers at the University of Notre Dame next month, Kristine Yuen will enter the mix with more to prove, but a little less to learn than some of her classmates.She already has experienced and conquered some of the typical freshman jitters and logged a few credits through the Upward Bound Program, which is celebrating its 40 th anniversary this year.

My parents emmigrated here fromChina,Yuen explained.Neither one of them ever went beyond high school, and they want me to have better opportunities.I am a first-generation college student and first-generation American citizen.

A graduate of Adams High School in South Bend, Yuen lived on campus this summer and took six credits in calculus and English composition as part of UpwardBounds bridge program, which allows recent high school graduates to earn credits that will transfer to any college they attend.While hitting the books, Yuen also began carving a social niche for herself at Notre Dame.

I have really bonded with the campus,she said.I made lots of new friends and had an opportunity to get to know professors and other people.

Established in 1966, Notre Dame’s Upward Bound program has helped some 5,000 first-generation, economically disadvantaged students from the South Bend Community School Corporation prepare for college.It was born from a grant proposal submitted in 1965 to the U.S. Department of Education by professor Robert Christin, who served as the executive director of the program until he was asked to serve as a national consultant to other colleges and universities interested in implementing Upward Bound.The Notre Dame program, one of the oldest in the country and the national prototype, is one of the Universitys federally-funded TRIO programs, along with Educational Talent Search and the Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program.

Most students enter Upward Bound during their freshman year of high school and are tutored by Notre Dame students in mathematics, reading, writing, foreign languages, science, history, and ISTEP and SAT preparation.They take field trips to colleges and universities, college fairs, student leadership conferences and cultural events, then give back by participating in community service activities.

A select group of young scholars researches and analyzes real world problems through the MOODYS (Mastering Occupational Opportunity Development for YouthsSuccess) component.The students create a plan for a new business then make projections and handle day-to-day operations.This year they created a credit union, incorporating research, math, accounting, literature, technology, Spanish and business principles.

The Moody’s Foundation was established by the Moodys Corporation/Moodys KVM, a credit risk management technology firm serving the world’s largest financial institutions and theSouth Bendcommunity.

Also planning to attend Notre Dame in the fall are Upward Bound graduates from Riley High School, Rene Alonso, Khadija Hashil, andMichael Padberg.

The Upward Bound Program over the last four decades has offered a life transforming opportunity for the youths and their families in theSouth Bendcommunity,said Alyssia Coates, director of Upward Bound at Notre Dame.In the last five years we have celebrated an average high school graduation rate of 100 percent and a college acceptance rate of 94 percent.

Determined to make Upward Bound work for her as well, Yuen structured her days on campus to include waking up at8 a.m.followed by calculus class, homework, lunch, English class, exercise, dinner, tutoring, homework and bed.For her,sweating the small stuffis a goal.

At Notre Dame I have learned the importance of organization both in and outside of the classroom,she said.Keeping my work organized is one thing, but keeping my room clean and taking care of myself and my belongings are also extremely important, especially living in such close proximity to so many other people in the dorms.The things I learned over the summer will help me make proper decisions in the fall.

Yuen will attend Notre Dame with her full tuition paid, thanks to a Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

My family is proud of me and proud of my decision to be part of Upward Bound,she said.Its a great program and without it I would not be where I am today.

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