Nearly 50 graduating high school seniors who successfully participated and completed the Upward Bound TRIO Programs’ experience were recognized at the recent Senior Scholarship Banquet hosted by Kent State University’s Pre-College TRIO Upward Bound Programs.
Akron Municipal Judge Annalisa Stubbs-Williams, a Kent State Upward Bound Classic alumna and the event’s keynote speaker, joined Upward Bound Project Directors Dana Lawless-Andric, Bonnie Richardson-Berry, Thomas Jefferson and Bruce Mitchell to escort the line of 46 high school seniors from seven high schools into the Kent Student Center Ballroom during the opening processional. The audience consisted of school superintendents, principals, top Kent State administrators and Upward Bound families. All of the seniors stood before the audience and recited an African proverb titled “Minute by Minute.” Additionally, three students representing the three Upward Bound Programs gave humorous, yet moving speeches that summarized the culmination of their years in Upward Bound and how they have been transformed and are ready for college.
Judge Williams gave a moving keynote address at the special event. She spoke passionately to the seniors, relating very well with them as a former Upward Bounder. “If it were not for Upward Bound, the Upward Bound Directors and the services they offered, I would not be where I am today,” she said.
Each student was awarded a certificate from their Upward Bound directors by State Representatives Vernon Sykes and Kathleen Chandler, along with Kent State Vice President Dr. Alfreda Brown and Assistant Vice President Dr. Geraldine Hayes Nelson, both from the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
With tears and much emotion and appreciation, Judge Williams was presented with a congratulatory plaque by Dr. Geraldine Hayes Nelson, another Kent State Upward Bound Classic graduate, on behalf of Pre-College TRIO Programs. Dr. Nelson also received a plaque recognizing the 16 years she served Upward Bound as a director and her overwhelming dedication to the program.
Kent State’s Student Financial Aid Office and the Upward Bound Parent Advisory Council, led by its president, Al Jones, presented several qualifying seniors with special scholarship dollars.
Kent State hosts three federal Upward Bound TRIO grants – the Upward Bound Classic program serving the areas of Akron Buchtel, Barberton, Kent Roosevelt and Warren; the Upward Bound PREP Academy serving the areas of Ravenna and Lorain; and the Upward Bound Math/Science Center serving the area of Canton.