MOSES LAKE — Twenty-six 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, making it the program’s first ever virtual induction ceremony.
Every new student, and at least one of their parents, participated in the online ceremony.
“The ceremony turned out great despite it being held virtually. I was impressed with all the family support that our students received (Wednesday) night,” said Big Bend TRiO Upward Bound Director Anita De Leon.
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 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 Gabriela Murillo Mendez, who spoke about her experience in the program.
“One of the main messages shared was that TRiO is more than just a program. It is a lifestyle and way of living,” said De Leon. “We operate like a family and show that kind of endless support to our participants. We are blessed to work with motivated individuals who want to earn a higher education.”
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 120 students this academic year.
Full list of inductees, by high school:
Moses Lake High School
Jasiah Adame, Carolina Ellsworth, Yadira James, Tina Nguyen, Sergio Romero Vega, Daniela Santillan Chagollan, and Julian Solorzano
Othello High School
Jerry Alvarado, Rojelio Alvarez, Jessica Belmonte, Christopher Lopez and Xochilt Silva
Royal High School
Haley Acencio-Beltran, Daniel Calderon-Velasquez, Karla Calderon-Velasquez, Angela Castro Felix, Luis Cruz, Emmanuel Farias-Garcia, Destiny Padilla Santillan, Alexis Romero-Orozco, Juan San German-Cerritos, Judy Santiago-Morales, and Isamar Sotelo
Warden High School
Maria Dominguez, Celety Egia and Kaydence Guerra