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Upward Bound graduates aim high

Recipients of the Upward Bound/Target School District Scholarships for 2011: (Left to right) Melitzi Torres, Alexander Vasquez Madrid, Sothavy Doeur and Rachael Souza. (Photo: Michael Salerno)

Recipients of the Upward Bound/Target School District Scholarships for 2011: (Left to right) Melitzi Torres, Alexander Vasquez Madrid, Sothavy Doeur and Rachael Souza. (Photo: Michael Salerno)
Fifty teenagers graduated from the RIC Upward Bound Program on June 2 in Gaige Hall Auditorium. But these were no ordinary graduates.

List of Graduates

The Upward Bound graduating Class of 2011 not only met the rigorous demands set by Upward Bound, they did it while completing their high school studies, working part-time jobs and staying involved in extracurricular activities.

“They took the unpopular risks,” said Mariam Boyajian, director of the Upward Bound Program, “such as taking classes on Saturdays and in the summer and maintaining excellent conduct. Fifty graduated this evening out of a class of 58, that’s an 86.2 percent graduation/retention rate.”

Established at RIC in 1966, Upward Bound has sought to instill in low-income, high-risk students the skills and motivation needed to complete high school and to enter and graduate from college. Focusing on both the intellectual and motivational development of its students, Upward Bound offers rigorous academic instruction, counseling and support services.

At the graduation ceremony Boyajian listed the outcomes for the Class of 2011: Of the 50 graduates, 24 graduated with distinction, having earned an Upward Bound grade point average of 3.25 or higher, 13 graduated with perfect attendance and all 50 have been admitted to an institution of higher education in the fall, among them, Brown University, Boston University and U-Mass Dartmouth.

Robert Rawson, commencement speaker.
(Photo: Michael Salerno)
The commencement address was given by Robert Rawson, Class of 1997, who received a JD degree from Pace Law School in 2011. Scholarships were presented by administrators from four high schools and by Upward Bound administrators. Diplomas were conferred by RIC President Nancy Carriuolo.

Carriuolo has also had the unique role of being a mentor to several Upward Bound graduates. After they enrolled at RIC, they began an internship in the President’s Office. She said three returned to RIC after graduating to teach in the Upward Bound Program because they wanted to “give back.”

“You see the long-range value of Upward Bound,” said President Carriuolo. “This program produces both fine scholars and conscientious citizens.”