Seated from left: Virginia Goode, Erica Staton, Jelisia Artis, Saleana Saunders, Jeanetta Sessoms, Tyreckka Hawks, Kirstyn Andrew, Kateisha Davis and Jasmine Anderson. In back: Upward Bound Director Travis Parker, Rhema Johnson, Shaleetta Hicks, Lexus Isom, Shaunye Burton, Katrina Williams, Abigail Idisi, Shadeejah Hunt, Shamar Ballard, Nora Hathan, Armirah Stephens and Upward Bound Counselor Angel Cashwell. Not pictured is Kea Windsor.
Since the Upward Bound Program began at Paul D. Camp Community College in 2008, it has not only grown in popularity, it has grown in dual enrollment students as well.
At a celebration for the Upward Bound college graduates held June 4 at the college’s Regional Workforce Development Center, Counselor Angel Cashwell said, “We went from begging students to join the program in the beginning to being here tonight to celebrate 20 Upward Bound students who have graduated with associate and bachelor degrees. Eight of those earned associate’s degrees at PDCCC before graduating from high school.”
The Upward Bound Program is a federal TRIO Program aimed at assisting 9th-12th graders with continuing their education at a postsecondary institution. The program serves 50 students from Franklin, Lakeland and Southampton high schools. The Dual Enrollment Program provides the opportunity for high school students to earn college credits while working toward their high school diploma, including completing a degree or certificate if they choose to go that route.
According to Upward Bound Director Travis Parker, an objective from the Virginia Department of Education requires a percentage of students undergo a rigorous course of study while in the program.
“We are meeting that objective by recommending the Dual Enrollment Program when appropriate,” said Parker. “The students who are eligible can use it as a springboard to complete their academic endeavors and ultimately, their career goals, sooner and cheaper. The DE program is high on our recommendation list to the UB students.”
“Out of the 16 high school graduates Upward Bound has this year, seven have earned their associate’s degree at PDCCC and all of them have been accepted to a college for fall semester. Three out of the remaining nine are coming to PDCCC. The Class of 2014, only one of 13 of our students earned their associate’s.”
Students praised the Upward Bound Program and staff during the celebration. “There were many days when I went to Mr. Parker crying and complaining,” said Armirah Stephens, 2014 Franklin High School and PDCCC Dual Enrollment graduate. “After a little while, Mr. Parker would ask, “’Are you finished’?” Parker’s “tough love” approach also prompted Stephens to add, “He has been like a second father to me.” Stephens was the first FHS graduate to simultaneously earn an associate’s degree at PDCCC.
Jeanetta Sessoms, who graduated with an associate’s degree from PDCCC in Science in May, said “It is a magnificent program. I encourage all high school students to participate.”
Those honored for earning bachelor’s degrees:
- Shaleetta Hicks (FHS and University of Richmond 2014)
- Katrina Williams (SHS, PDCCC and Regent University 2015)
- Kea Windsor (LHS and Old Dominion University 2015)
- Jelisia Artis (LHS and North Carolina Central University 2015)
- Erica Staton (LHS and Liberty University 2015)
Those honored for earning associate’s degrees:
- Nora Hathan (FHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Virginia Goode (FHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Shamar Ballard (SHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Rhema Johnson (SHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Lexus Isom (LHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Shaunye’ Burton (SHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Shadeejah Hunt (FHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Armirah Stephens (2014 FHS and PDCCC-Dual Enrollment)
- Tyreckka Hawks (FHS and PDCCC)
- Jasmine Anderson (SHS and PDCCC)
- Jeanetta Sessoms (FHS and PDCCC)
- Abigail Idisi (FHS and PDCCC)
- Kirstyn Andrew (SHS and PDCCC)
- Saleana Saunders (FHS and PDCCC)
- Kateisha Davis (SHS and PDCCC 2014)
- Katrina Williams (SHS and PDCCC 2014)
Upward Bound has recently accepted 16 more high school students. Fourteen rising juniors and five sophomores will begin Dual Enrollment classes this summer with the goal of completing an associate’s degree and/or certificate from PDCCC.