MOSES LAKE — Twenty-three high school students from Grant and Adams counties were formally welcomed into Big Bend Community College’s TRiO Upward Bound Program Wednesday night. The ceremony took place online via Zoom.
Every new student, and at least one of their parents, participated in the virtual ceremony.
The TRiO Upward Bound program is a federally-funded grant program designed to help more high school students prepare for, enroll, and succeed in college. By joining Upward Bound, students are pledging their commitment to pursuing a college education.
“A motivated and excellent student doesn’t always equal being college-ready,” said Big Bend TRiO Upward Bound Director Anita De Leon. “TRiO Upward Bound’s goal is to provide the roadmap and compass that disadvantaged students need to navigate the college process and successfully graduate from postsecondary education.”
This year’s inductees come from Moses Lake, Warden, Royal City and Othello high schools. Students were individually celebrated before taking their official Upward Bound oath, delivered by Superior Court Judge David Estudillo.
They also heard from BBCC Dean of Student Services Andre Guzman, and from former TRiO Upward Bound graduate Phillip Christian, who spoke about his experience in the program.
“As a first-generation college student, I never felt like I had any footsteps to follow,” said Christian. “TRiO took me in, believed in me, and gave me the tools I needed.”
Christian also shared how TRiO Upward Bound advisors were there for him beyond helping him prepare for college.
“I would walk with my head down, I was very introverted. I went through bullying at school and hardships at home, but being in TRiO gave me the self-confidence I needed to get through that,” he said. “They (TRiO advisors) really believed in me, and showed me that I had skillsets I never knew I had.”
Christian is now five months away from completing his master’s degree in psychology. He hopes to continue his work as a behavioral therapist.
The Upward Bound program at Big Bend has been on campus since 1967 and is one of the oldest Upward Bound programs in the nation. TRiO advisors help students who are from low-income backgrounds and who are often first-generation college students, with anything and everything college related- including tutoring, assistance with college and financial aid applications, and SAT/ACT preparation.
In addition, students participate in a variety of cultural and social events while in the program. They also participate in the TRiO Upward Bound Summer Academy, which is held each year on the Big Bend campus.
The program is currently serving 119 students this academic year.
Full list of inductees, by high school:
Moses Lake High School
Denise Barreto Guijosa, Trey Barrios, Lindsey Gomez, Brandon Hernandez, Torie Moser, Xitlaly Orejel
Othello High School
Adamaris Serna-Ochoa, Alexandro Gonzalez Pineda, Ernestina Herrera-Agustin, Naraiah Benavidez-Guzman, Serenity Pena, Yanalthet Rodriguez-Gutierrez
Royal High School
Alexa Carrasco-Morfin, Santiago Gonzalez, Georgina Hernandez, Yuridia Juarez, Kimberly Pineda-Escalera, Kevin Ramirez, Nickole Rodriguez, Emma Villa
Warden High School
Angel Lino-Segoviano, Eily Castillo, Ingrid Contreras