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Palm Beach State College awarded grants to expand Upward Bound

Syla Alcin, director of Upward Bound, President Ava L. Parker and U.S. Rep Lois Frankel, celebrate the news of the Upward Bound grants with students in the program.

Photo by Palm Beach State College

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Palm Beach State College grants totaling $3 million over five years to support the expansion of the TRIO Upward Bound college readiness program.

“What’s special to us about having this TRIO grant is that we can serve more students,” PBSC President Ava L. Parker said. “We can expand our services out to the Glades. If we just help a few, it’s great, but it’s so much better when we can help more students.”

The grants will help Upward Bound serve Pahokee and Glades Central high schools for the first time.

“Although we know that not everyone has to go to college to be successful in life, we know from experience that there are benefits to earning a college degree,” said Rep Lois Frankel (D-21st District). “This Upward Bound program gives young people a real opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Upward Bound, one of eight TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Education Department, offers academic resources to assist students from underprivileged backgrounds reach higher education.

Syla Alcin, the Upward Bound program director, said all the seniors served by the program achieved a proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math in the 2020-21 year.

“Those are great achievements that could not happen if we did not have the support of those programs and the community,” Alcin said.

He said over 90% of program participants either stayed in school for the next academic year or graduated, and 52% who enrolled in postsecondary education attained a degree within six years of high school graduation.

Resources offered to Upward Bound participants include tutoring, academic and career counseling, field trips, college tours and other events. In addition, program staff members track student success for six years after high school graduation.

“I love TRIO Upward Bound. It’s like a second family,” said Melyne Cineas, a rising senior at G-Star High School who entered the program when she was at Lake Worth High School. She reported attending college tours, receiving assistance with scholarship applications, going to workshops and gaining college readiness skills. “It’s a second support system. My adviser and my peers have helped me to be a great person and be ready for college.”

With the new grant, $286,527 a year will support 60 students at Glades Central and Pahokee high schools. In addition, the previous grant offers $312,480 a year for the program established in 1999 to serve 65 students from John I. Leonard and Palm Beach Lakes high schools.


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