College Prep Program Gets Boost

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More students from our area will have an opportunity to go to college thanks to some much-needed funding for a program that will help them get there.

The program is called Upward Bound.  It's offered at hundreds of colleges nationwide.  But at East Stroudsburg University, the program was on the verge of shutting down until some much-needed funding arrived this month.

"Project Upward Bound is for low-income students whose parents did not graduate from college," said Uriel Trujillo, the director of Upward Bound.

The program, which provides academic tutoring, is offered at hundreds of colleges nation-wide.

Last year the program at East Stroudsburg University ran into money trouble and almost shut down. But then, earlier this month, ESU's program received more than $2 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education. The money will keep the Upward Bound program going for five years.

That's a good thing for Prabhjot Carrasco who started the program in eighth grade. She has her sights set on being the first in her family to go to college.

"No only for high school, but for college as well. I saw that as a wonderful opportunity to go forward and start with my life there," said Carrasco, an Easton High School Senior.

Every summer about 60 kids from the Upward Bound program spend a month at East Stroudsburg University. Not only are they taking classes, but they're also learning very important life skills.

"Not only academics, but it's also taught me life skills, to get along with other people in different kinds of ways.  Not just hanging with one certain kind of group, but different kinds of people with different backgrounds," said Carrasco.

Angela Achey is a former Upward Bound student who now goes to school at East Stroudsburg University and works there part time.

"I left my family when I was 16 due to personal problems and Upward Bound was there for me. I am the only one of three kids to finish high school because of them. I am the only one to go to college because of them," said Achey.

Now Angela says she expects to graduate from East Stroudsburg University next year with plans to become a teacher.

"They were always there for me. If it wasn't for them, I would have probably dropped out of high school," said Achey.

All the students who are part of the Upward Bound program at East Stroudsburg University start the program when they're in eighth grade.

98% graduate from high school and enroll in some sort of secondary education.