High School Scholars Ready for College

July 21, 2011 5:45 AM

Alicia Duplessis Jasmin

The Tulane University Upward Bound program is proving that individualized attention and parental involvement are still key to a student’s success in high school. As proof, program leaders are celebrating a milestone 100 percent college enrollment rate for its 2011 graduates.

Upward Bound

The Tulane Upward Bound class of 2011 includes (from left) Miesha Phillips, Ta’Jara Riley, Kenyal Rieux, Jaslyn Stiaes, Mary Thomas, Yarielle Buckley and Miquelle Phillips. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“For first-generation, low-income students, which New Orleans has a large population of, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve, not only enrollment rates, but also college completion rates,” says Tanya Jones, director of the program. “If students are not getting consistent assistance on preparing for college and the college-admissions process, it is highly unlikely they will meet all of the requirements necessary for a successful transition from high school to college and even further, graduation.”

Upward Bound is a federally funded program that provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. At Tulane, the program is run by the Center for Public Service and has operated for more than 12 years. Previous classes have come close to a 100 percent college enrollment rate, but those classes included students enrolling into schools for certificate and licensure programs.

Jones says the program encourages students to enroll in four-year universities due to low graduation rates from local community colleges.

“There are few matriculation agreements in place that assist students with an easy transition,” says Jones. “Students have a hard time making the transition from two- to four-year institutions.”

Kenyal Rieux, a New Orleans native and part of the 2011 cohort, says she will be attending Xavier University of Louisiana this fall.  She plans to study biology (pre-medicine).

“Upward Bound helped keep me busy during the summer, and it made sure that I didn’t forget any of the things I learned in school,” says Rieux. “Upward Bound motivated me to stay focused on my work and remain in the top of my class. Now I’m focused on my future goals.”

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000