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Upward Bound launches at DeKalb High School

Program helps disadvantaged students prepare for college

A check for $1.3 million from the U.S.Department of Education is presented during Kishwaukee College’s TRiO Upward Bound Program launch Friday at DeKalb High School. Pictured are, left to right DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith; Laurie Borowicz, president of Kishwaukee College; Tashena Briggs, director of the TRiO Upward Bound program; James Horne, principal of DeKalb High School; state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley; and Jamie Craven, superintendent of DeKalb School District 428.
A check for $1.3 million from the U.S.Department of Education is presented during Kishwaukee College’s TRiO Upward Bound Program launch Friday at DeKalb High School. Pictured are, left to right DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith; Laurie Borowicz, president of Kishwaukee College; Tashena Briggs, director of the TRiO Upward Bound program; James Horne, principal of DeKalb High School; state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley; and Jamie Craven, superintendent of DeKalb School District 428.

DeKALB – High-schoolers eager to blaze a trail might be eligible for a powerful assist along that path with the launch of the TRiO Upward Bound program at DeKalb High School.

Kishwaukee College and the high school are partners in the program which, thanks to a $1.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will provide many services for 60 students each school year – including the one currently underway.

Eligible students must be between ages 13 and 19.

They must also seek to be a first-generation college student in their family, be at risk for academic failure, or qualify as a low-income student. As an example, a two-member household must earn less than $24,360 each year.

Tashena Briggs, who started her job as director of TRiO Upward Bound at Kish in September, participated in Upward Bound for two years at Tinley Park High School, from which she graduated in 2006. She said when she and her staff were providing information to students Friday at DeKalb High School, it was met with disbelief.

“Kids didn’t believe us – it’s absolutely free,” she said. “I’m just asking for a commitment.”

Applications are due Dec. 15, and Briggs plans to start doing interviews after the turn of the year, with the hopes of providing services as soon as possible.

Among other services, Upward Bound offers advising, tutoring, college planning, financial literacy and leadership development.

Briggs said over spring break in March, the program will take students on a tour of colleges both public and private.

“This isn’t a recruiting tool for Kish,” she said. “We don’t care where they go to college, so long as they go somewhere. We want to take them as far as our dollars will take them.”

Applicants will be asked to provide a lot of information, from their education records to proof of their parents’ or guardians’ income.

Underclassmen accepted into the program will be eligible to participate in it through graduation.

Briggs said Upward Bound will also run a six-week summer academy at Kish, during which there will be morning classes, activities in the afternoon, and many of the same services provided during the school year.

She said the program is working with TransVAC to provide transportation, as well.

For information, or to fill out an application, visit kish.edu/trioub, or call Briggs directly at 815-825-9437, or email her at tbriggs@kish.edu.

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