Since May 29, more than 230 high school students have been participating in the 23rd summer session of Upward Bound Program at Crowder College - Neosho campus.

Since May 29, more than 230 high school students have been participating in the 23rd summer session of Upward Bound Program at Crowder College - Neosho campus.
Upward Bound programs are federally funded programs designed to provide education access and assistance to income eligible, first generation, and/or disabled  students. Crowder College UB Programs  provide 300 high school participants in 10 counties in southwest Missouri with an opportunity to
complete a course of college preparatory study, which equips them for success in post secondary  education.
"We work with them year round, but the students right now are on campus, they are here during the summer for five weeks (May 29- July 3), living in the residents halls, taking classes for the next school year," said Wade Williams, project director of the Upward Bound Math/Sciences programs at Crowder Neosho. "Most of our underclassmen are taking a math, science, English, foreign language, whatever they are going to be taken to prepare for the next school year, so once they go back, they are ready to go. They are also taking a three-hour research class each day, hands-on, engaging, those are classes that going to expose them to specific careers that would require a bachelor's degree. Then some of our students are also taking duel-enrollment courses and by the time that they potentially finish, they could have a whole semester's worth of classes under their belt that we have paid for."
Williams noted the students take courses from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thorough Thursday and go to their home on the weekend.
"This is a totally free program, because all of our funding is through the US Department of Education," he said. "So everything that we do while our students are here, is free to students on campus, they get breakfast, lunch, dinner in the cafeteria, materials for classes, there is no cost for students to participate in the program. they actually receive - based on their grades and attendance - they get a stipend, but our students can earn up to $15 per week during summer for being here."
Williams also said most of their students come in when they are freshmen continue with the program until their senior year.
And at the end of the program, they attend a field trip.
"At the end of the five weeks as long as the students have passed all of their classes with at least a 70 percent or higher, then we take them on a week-long cultural trip to a large US city or just something out of the norm for Southwest Missouri," said Williams. "So most of the trips are Washington DC, Chicago, Denver. This year is Pensacola, Fla., because (some) of our students have not been to the ocean. We take them down there, while there, we are doing fun things, but it is all educational. We will go to the naval aviation museum which it is hands down aviation museum in the US. We also will take them on a college tour while we are there."
One of the students who is attending is Victor Arellano, Stockton, Mo.
"This is my third summer coming here," Arellano said. "They came to my school my freshman year, they presented the program to my class. I was immediately interested when they showed what the program was about and the benefits."
Asked what he has learned over the years, Arellano said a wide-range of information.
"Each year, they put us in classes that take the following year. my first year, I took chemistry, just different classes," he said. "Like right now, I am in college algebra because this next year, I will be in college algebra. They have these things like research classes and last year I was in this class called, 'So you think that you want to be a doctor.' And we got to tour Mercy hospital in Joplin, we went to a dentist office, they brought in a physician and they give us valuable skills. throughout the year. We have these called 'Closer to College, which once a month we go to and they give me skills on resume building, what I should look for in the application and just other stuff that I am going to take."
Arellano also enjoys the field trips.
"Last year in Colorado, we went to a mine, took a tour through the mine, that was awesome," he said. "Freshman year, I was awestruck because I go to to go to Chicago, just to be in urban life it was neat, got to try some deep-dish pizza."
Arellano said Upward Bound is very beneficial and encourages others to attend.
"It is definitely fun, and it is definitely challenging," he said. "I love it, I look forward to it every year. A lot of my friends, I have met here at Upward Bound. I would definitely go this route again if I could. it is an experience that you can't get anywhere else."