50th Anniversary Celebration
Grand Rapids, MI - Class of 2014
The quest speaker for the 2018 Senior Recognition Reception, Ms. Treandra Thomas is shown above. Miss Thomas' experience as a proud Upward Bound alumni is detailed in the recent story - here
Everett High School
Lansing, MI – Class of 1994
Upward Bound was important for me because it gave me the opportunity to be around other first-generation minority students who were socially and economically disadvantaged. I felt I had a place to share similar experiences. It prepared and exposed me to university campus life and, most of all, provided several mentors that inspired me to obtain my high school diploma and a college degree.
The exposure to college life that Upward Bound provided helped ease my transition from high school to college. It also provided a supportive network that encouraged the importance of obtaining a college education. The program truly helped me prepare for life challenges and the importance of self-discipline.Read More
My favorite memory from Upward Bound was picking up my stipend. I couldn’t believe I was being awarded financial assistance, getting tutored free of charge, being given the opportunity to get three college application fees paid for, and, most of all, being able to hang out with my minority peers. It really was a place of encouragement and an outlet of positivity for me.
Upward Bound was helpful to me in my career in several ways. First, it helped me understand not only how to be a good student, but also how to be a good mentee. I quickly realized the concept of “pay it forward” as I now serve as a mentor to others. Second, I used to think I would never graduate from high school, let alone college. The statistics showed a high probability of digression versus progression and being able to rise up and beat those odds gave me strong confidence in my approach to taking on challenging work assignments. Finally, without Upward Bound, I would never have met my “second mother” – Sandra Firestone. She was a big influence on the adult I am today. She helped me in so many ways – I can’t thank her enough! She is a special leader who is empathetic, humble, and the most heart-driven person I have ever met.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, with a major in Supply Chain Management, from MSU and I currently work as an operations project and facilities manager at Steelcase, Inc. In this position, I have leadership responsibilities in new product development, product flow and cost optimization as well as facility management.
I used to hear the words, “opportunity doesn’t knock; you have to knock on opportunity.” I encourage kids to take the initiative to break the cycle of being a disadvantaged youth. Upward Bound provides a vast amount of opportunities, tools to overcome challenges, and experiences that will help not only progress them, but their families and future families to come.
The guest speaker for the 2013 Senior Recognition night, Terrell Black, spoke to graduating seniors about his experience at Upward Bound and how it helped him throughout college and his successful career at General Motors. He shared his thoughts on the importance of a good education and a solid support system through Upward Bound and his family.
After his speech, Terrell shared this with a staff member:
“Thank you again to Upward Bound and Sandy T. Firestone for this opportunity to speak to the Graduating Seniors in Lansing about my career and life experiences. It was a life changing experience for me to even do this. I hope I was able to change some other lives in the process.”
Lansing Everett High School
Lansing, MI – Class of 2002
I believe that the TRIO programs, including Upward Bound, have been essential at not only providing access to underrepresented students, but also giving them the necessary resources needed in order to succeed. Upward Bound definitely increased my academic readiness for college, which played a very important part in me not only getting to college but eventually graduating as well.
I always tell people that Upward Bound was a critical part in getting me to where I am today in my career. Upward Bound definitely gave me the necessary tools to be successful. While in Upward Bound, I was exposed to many different things that I might not have been exposed to otherwise. I believe the program not only gave me the tools to succeed, but also instilled in me the confidence to go to college, graduate and be successful. Upward Bound helped prepare me for college by giving me an overall understanding of what to expect from college.Read More
Some of my favorite memories from Upward Bound include trips we took to Chicago, Atlanta and New York. I think the one that hit home the most for me was the trip to New York. It seems surreal that we were in New York a month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. It really made me cherish the memories now that I look back on it.
Upward Bound has definitely helped me in my career. After graduating from college, I always felt that I could go back and discuss anything with the Upward Bound staff. They have always been there to give me advice on what direction to take in my career when I needed it. They have always been there to lend a helping hand to all of their former students over the years. I just hope I am able to pay it forward to a program that has meant so much to me personally.
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Retailing from MSU and I currently work as the Director of Development for Annual Giving at the Washington State University Foundation in Pullman, Washington. In this position, I oversee the annual giving department. I help facilitate the annual multi-channel fundraising for the various constituencies that include both academic and non-academic units. I really like what I do because I help raise private support for the university, which is very important.
I was lucky enough to experience Upward Bound as both a student in high school and as a staff member when I worked as a student counselor for two summers. I encourage Upward Bound students to take advantage of all the resources and programming that the program has to offer. Looking back, I didn’t realize the impact the Upward Bound program would have on my life. The staff at Upward Bound only want the best from you and they will work hard to bring out that potential in you.
Everett High School
Lansing, MI – Class of 1994
I was excited to be a part of Upward Bound because it was a great introduction to higher education. My experience with the program was instrumental in exposing me to different races, cultures and experiences. Upward Bound pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to graduate from the program with life experiences that you can’t learn in a classroom.
Upward Bound introduced me to the college experience, allowing me to attend classes on MSU’s campus as a high school student. Living and eating meals in the residence halls really mimicked the college experience for me. This exposure helped solidify my interest in obtaining a college degree, while, at the same time helped ease the anxiety of what college life would be like. The non-academic experiences also really helped shape my personality and character. I am grateful that I was able to build lifelong relationships through Upward Bound.Read More
One of my favorite memories from Upward Bound is the time I spent at Camp Highfields. This experience really pushed me physically and mentally. It also challenged my trust in strangers, but also strengthened my bond with fellow students. It is very difficult to pinpoint one single favorite memory from Upward Bound because I had so many great experiences. Every summer field trip was extremely educational but also memorable for all of the extracurricular activities. Upward Bound was responsible for introducing me to many things I never would have tried, or have had the chance to try otherwise. The summer trip to Chicago gave me my first ever experience at the opera with the viewing of Miss Saigon, and the summer Washington D.C. trip was my first ever visit to the White House.
My experience with Upward Bound was key to shaping my interest in both college and in medicine. Upward Bound has taught me the importance of being compassionate and really reaching for the stars. The compassion that Glenda Hammond and Sandra Firestone, along with the entire Upward Bound family, provides to high school students is amazing, but also contagious. The support and love that they gave me as a student was everlasting. Upward Bound has really helped me become a better student. The small things that you learn as a student in the program can easily be overlooked, but the impact is truly lifelong. Upward Bound taught me as a freshman in high school the significance of being independent and being responsible, which are traits that are key to future success in both college and life.
I earned a doctor of Medicine degree from the MSU College of Human Medicine and I currently work as an anesthesiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this position, I am responsible for caring for patients while they undergo surgery. I also oversee the patients when the surgery is complete to assure they are awake and comfortable prior to being discharged from the recovery room.
It was truly a privilege to have the opportunity to participate in Upward Bound. I encourage kids to participate in the Upward Bound program because it is a life changing experience. Through Upward Bound, you will be challenged in so many ways. You will have the opportunity to form lifelong relationships with career-minded individuals. Everyone who participates in Upward Bound comes out of the experience as both a better student and person.
Paul Her graduated from Eastern High School and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Sienna Height University in Adrian, Michigan. He now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is the Head Chef and part owner of Village Cuisine, a Thai restaurant. He credits his time at Upward Bound for pursuing a post-secondary education and challenging him to keep wanting more out of life. He is now a successful author of four poetry books, and an Entrepreneur.Read More
Read what Paul had to say below about his journey through Upward Bound and his success:
I would say Upward Bound is the Holy Grail for financially challenged and first generation students. For me, it was an eye-opening experience and it was responsible for introducing me to pursue my bachelor’s degree. The program not only guided me to believe in my abilities, but was crucial to directing me in competing educationally with other students. Upward Bound supplied me with great teachers, counselors, mentors, etc., whom have influenced me to understand the value of a higher learning. Moreover, these great respectable people not only care for me, but also remain my friends as of today. The love and support these great leaders have given me and continue to give these younger generations cannot be substituted or replaced. I owe them a life time of gratitude, these current students or anyone who has been in this program owes them a debt. This debt is not of monetary value, but we owe them our efforts/wills to succeed in life. When we are successful, we should come back to help and inspire those who are currently participating in the Upward Bound Program.
My life is a journey of its own, but I have to give Upward Bound and other TRIO programs credit for my success. I am not where I want to be in life, but I have had my share of success, and many more to come. I have published four books of poetry, I have established a Thai restaurant, and I have traveled to many different states. The only reason which fuels my hunger for success is the love of humanity. I want to live to impact the world, to give to the world something valuable, and I definitely do not want to just be a number in this world. We came into this world the same way from our mothers, some of us live for ourselves, some of us live for others, and some of us do not live at all. Which one will you choose to be? I know, I have chosen to give back to the world because the world does not owe me anything, in fact, I owe the world everything. All I can do is try to make this world better for me, and the rest of the people around me. We want to leave the world a better place, better than the world we have seen; let’s make it better for the future of our children.”