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NMC Upward Bound Program Celebrates 25 years of Enhancing Educational Opportunities in the CNMI (July 17, 2008)

Upward Bound students and staff pose for a photo during their trip to Rota last year.

The Northern Marianas College’s Upward Bound Program will be marking a historic milestone this Friday by celebrating 25 years of helping more than 3,000 disadvantaged high school students in the CNMI prepare for college.

Primarily serving high school students from low-income families along with high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree, the Upward Bound Program is a federally funded program designed to help participants prepare for college. The program provides instruction in a variety of subjects, academic, financial and personal counseling, tutorial and mentoring services, assistance with college admission forms and placement tests, and other services.

“Without a doubt, my participation in Upward Bound has equipped me with the tools I needed to overcome the challenges I faced in college,” said Ivan Mereb, who graduated from the program in 2004.

The Upward Bound Program was originally initiated in 1983 under the guidance of the Pacific Post Secondary Educational Council through the University of Guam. Mr. George Sablan was the very first director of the program and called Marianas High School its home. Later the program was relocated to the Mount Carmel School Library in the Spring of 1988. In 1990, NMC applied for and received the competitive Upward Bound grant.

“What truly makes our program a triumph is our participants’ drive and motivation to excel personally and academically,” said Marian Tudela, director of the NMC Upward Bound Program. “The support from our alumni and the participants’ parents and guardians has also been a key factor in program’s success.

Previous directors for the program have included the late Mr. Baltasar Borja, the late Mr. Calistro Falig, and Ms. Jeannette Villagomez.

“For the past 25 years, the Upward Bound Program has played a pivotal role in the lives of many people here in the CNMI,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “We hope to see more students take advantage of this free program so they too can realize the benefits and opportunities that a higher education provides. Those who are interested in applying to the Upward Bound Program can contact Marian Tudela at [email protected] or call 234-5498 Ext. 1278. The Upward Bound Program is a federally funded program sponsored by the United States Department of Education, TRIO programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

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