ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – As a high school student, college was on the mind of Sam Lopez, but since no one else in his family attended, picking a starting place was like fumbling in the dark.
“I didn’t know how to do ACT or where to go for college applications, I was just so thrown off by everything,” he said.
Then he heard about and joined the Upward Bound program at Abilene Christian University (ACU) while in high school, a program that’s prepared current AISD high school students for success in college for the last 20 years.
“This is what college can look like, would look like,” he said.
The now first-generation college student at ACU has since switched gears, helping mentor the next batch of AISD high school students on college expectations, but also through the current challenges of high school today.
Steven Mangoffo AISD junior, and soon to be first-generation college student said he’s attending high school virtually this year, with Upward Bound helping bridge the in-the-classroom gap.
“If you don’t have the teachers help, you basically have teachers help because you have college students who have already done everything you need to do to help you after school with your homework or any assignment that you need,” he said.
Usually picking them up from school three days a week, COVID’s forced Upward Bound to move exclusively virtual the rest of the school season. But director D’Angelo Sands said it hasn’t stifled academic support, with help available 24/7.
“If a student needs an assignment or help Sunday through Saturday, they can send a picture of their assignments to a program that we’re signed up with to get the help that they absolutely need,” Sands said.
D’Angelo said a pandemic doesn’t have to be another boundary between your child’s potential and their future success.