A total of 35 recent high school graduates
from across Southwest Texas were honored at SWTJC Uvalde on July 16 upon
completion of their fourth and final year in U.S. Department of
Educationís Upward Bound Program.
According to Upward Bound
guidelines, the program is designed to help prepare low income/first
generation college students for entry into higher education.
SWTJC President Dr. Ismael Sosa, Jr., welcomed the group and
congratulated them on completing the program and beginning their college
"Congratulations on your hard work thus far and donít stop," Dr. Sosa
said. "You are college students now. Set goals, whether itís a two-year
associateís degree, a bachelorís degree or beyond, and work toward them.
Higher education will make a big difference in the quality of your
Following welcoming remarks by Dr. Sosa, Upward Bound class
valedictorian Elizabeth Lutz of DíHanis High School and salutatorian
Christopher S. Cruz of Uvalde High School addressed the gathering of
program participants, family and friends.
Program director Albert Hernandez presented framed certificates of
completion to program graduates. Graduates also received custom-made
stoles embroidered with the Upward Bound logo.
Gracie Z. Luna, education specialist at SWTJC, was master of
ceremonies and administrative assistant Angelica Uriegas also helped
with the program.
Following their graduation from various area high schools in May,
Upward Bound students lived on campus in Uvalde and attended first
summer session classes earning college credit in art history and U.S.
Area high schools represented in the program, in addition to DíHanis
and Uvalde, include Carrizo Springs, Cotulla, Crystal City, Del Rio,
Dilley, Eagle Pass, Hondo, Natalia and Pearsall.
The four-year Upward Bound Program at SWTJC began in the summer of
2008. For the past three years participants have attended summer classes
at SWTJC with intensive instruction in reading, writing and math aimed
at helping them succeed in high school. Evening physical education
classes were also part of the summer program.
Along with annual six-week summer sessions, participants also met on
Saturdays during the regular school year for instruction and tutorials
in reading, writing and math.
Students and their parents have conducted various fund-raisers over
the past four years to cover expenses for a trip to Washington, D.C.,
following their graduation from the program.
The charter bus trip to the nationís capital began on July 17. While
in the D.C. area, the group plans to visit Mt. Vernon, Arlington
National Cemetery, Capitol Hill, the White House and the Lincoln,
Jefferson and Vietnam memorials.
A visit to the office of Congressman Francisco Canseco is also on the
groupís agenda. The group will arrive back in Uvalde on July 23.
Cotulla and Pearsall graduates (front, l-r)
Shah Raja, Amber Salazar, Niki Ortegon, Mario Vasquez, (back) Sergio
Mata, Jefferey Viesca, Daniel Chavana and Thomas Garcia.
Natalia graduates (l-r) Selena Bowman and Corina Albarado.
Uvalde graduates (front, l-r) Steven Guedea, Alejandro Davila,
Jr., Misty Ramos, Maria Rodriguez, Juan Martinez III, (back) Gabriel
Ramon, Justin Rangel, Joe Flores, Felix Sonora, Jr., Christopher S.