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Building character, strengthening academics

Taylor Chien works on a project during the Upward Bound summer program.

Taylor Chien works on a project during the Upward Bound summer program. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

PLATTSBURGH — Nicholas Averill once sat quietly off to the side.

Now he walks up the center, and while he still sits to the side if he wants to, he isn’t quiet and he’s no longer shy.

“I think this opened me up more,” said the Chazy Central Rural School student of the Upward Bound program. “I am able to go up and talk to new people.”

Avery and high school students from around the North Country recently participated in Upward Bound’s summer program, during which they took a trip to Boston, lived in the dorms at Plattsburgh State, and enrolled in courses similar to what they would take in high school and college.

“Our goal is exposure,” said Brian Post, director of the Upward Bound program. “We do a lot of college readiness and a ton of academic related workshops.”

Upward Bound, launched in 1965, is a federally funded educational program that provides high school students, largely from low income families or whose parents did not attend college, with better opportunities for attending college. Out of nearly 900 Upward Bound programs nationwide, the one at Plattsburgh State is the fourth largest, as well as the largest in New York state.

Since 1966, more than 1,500 high school students from around the North Country have completed Upward Bound at Plattsburgh State. More than 80 percent of them have pursued postsecondary education immediately after high school.

Among other things, the programs provides students with visits to colleges in the Northeast, career internships and job shadowing, career field trips, more than 6,000 hours of community outreach and the summer program.

“The summer program is an academic program,” said Brian Post, director of Upward Bound at Plattsburgh State. “Kids take courses and live in the dorm to get a feel of what it is like to be independent.”

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