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Local high schoolers complete summer college experience

Shelby Easterwood, Jeff Kahlden, Carmen Cheguen

More than 50 local high school students attended Weatherford College’s annual Upward Bound summer academy focused on providing higher education access to future first-generation college students from economically disadvantaged families.

Students live on campus during the six-week program and attend classes ranging from lab-based science to foreign language.

“This experience increases these students’ likelihood of enrolling and graduating from post-secondary institutions,” said Jeff Kahlden, WC Upward Bound director.

In addition to core courses like math, science and English, students also completed courses in college readiness, American Sign Language, financial literacy and computer literacy. The curriculum is built around longer classroom time and fewer classes allowing students to focus more on each subject.

“It allowed me to focus on the class,” said Cristian Hernandez, a rising senior from Springtown High School. “And it allowed me to have more time to work on what I was learning while not having to do it all on my own as homework.”

At the end of the program, students traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to explore the states and their universities. In addition to a swamp tour, students toured six universities while on their trip. 

“To see the universities in nearby states gave me a better perspective of what my opportunities are outside of Texas,” said Nancy Benavides, a rising senior from Mineral Wells High School.   

Wrapping up their time at WC, students were awarded for their classroom achievement. This year’s award honorees are:

·       Excellence Award in English — Yareni Davila Cabrera, Gordon High School

·       Most Improved Award in English — Elaina Puente, Gordon High School

·       Excellence Award in Mathematics — Zane Sudduth, Springtown High School

·       Most Improved Award in Mathematics — Adrianna Betanzos, Springtown High School

·       Excellence Award in Advanced Mathematics — Robert Moreno, Springtown High School

·       Most Improved Award in Advanced Mathematics — Brianna Graham, Springtown High School

·       Excellence Award in Science — Sarah Kinnard, Springtown High School

·       Most Improved Award in Science — Magaly Benavides, Mineral Wells High School

·       Excellence Award in Foreign Language — Sarah Kinnard, Springtown High School

·       Most Improved Award in Foreign Language — Yareni Davila Cabrera, Gordon High School

·       Excellence Award in American Sign Language — Shyanne McBride, Millsap High School

·       Most Improved in American Sign Language — Tori Kelleher, Gordon High School

·       Excellence in Financial Literacy — Carmen Cheguen, Gordon High School

·       Most Improved in Financial Literacy — Brianna Graham, Springtown High School

·       Excellence Award in Gigabyte (Computers) — Carmen Cheguen, Gordon High School

·       Most Improved in Gigabyte (Computers) — Isaac Buchanan, Mineral Wells High School

·       Outstanding Freshman Award — Zane Sudduth, Springtown High School

·       Outstanding Sophomore Award — Jamey Curry, Gordon High School

·       Outstanding Junior Award — Logan Lantrip, Gordon High School

·       Outstanding Bridge Student Award — Jabin Burns, Springtown High School

·       Horizon Award Winner — Carmen Cheguen, Gordon High School

·       The Ethan Seymore Do More Award — Derek Borjas, Mineral Wells High School

·       Spirit of Upward Bound Award — Shelby Easterwood, Springtown High School

Upward Bound is a federally funded TRiO program that serves students in Millsap, Mineral Wells, Springtown and Gordon high schools. Students in these schools interested in the program can pick up an application from their high school counselor this fall.

“This grant enables students and their families that need support to complete their dreams of a college education,” Kahlden said. “Our priority is to serve students who need the academic skills necessary to prepare them to receive a quality education. This program can be a life-changer for the individual student and also make an impact on our local community.”

For more information about Upward Bound at WC, contact Kahlden at jkahlden@wc.edu or 817-598-6485.