BCTC’s TRiO Upward Bound program traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Summer Learning Opportunities Fair as part of the National Summer Learning Day June 20.
Sharonda Steele, BCTC’s Upward Bound Director, traveled with several students from Upward Bound’s Summer Learning Program from Lexington for the fair. The students hosted a hands-on-learning booth at the expo, participated in youth panels, and watched youth performances. They also listened to remarks from First Lady Michelle Obama during the event, part of her Reach Higher Initiative.
The event highlighted the critical role summer learning plays in preparing young people for successful college entry and completion.
BCTC staff and students gave a presentation on Upward Bound’s community building project during the expo.
For the project, groups of students built Lego buildings representing different areas of the community. The Upward Bound staff used this project to spark discussions on the challenges the students faced, and how those challenges are similar to those community leaders face on a daily basis. The students also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, both on their building projects and with other efforts, as part of learning about community building.
In their display in Washington, D.C., the students took the buildings and created a full neighborhood around them.
“The First Lady and other attendees from the Department of Education were very impressed by the display, presentation and Upward Bound group as a whole,” said Steele.
“As the director, I am happy to be recognized nationally for the work we are doing. I appreciate this opportunity to showcase the great work being done with our students.”
BCTC’s Upward Bound program was one of seventeen summer programs invited to the event. Three of the other programs were also Upward Bound programs.
Students (9th - 11th graders) are selected from high schools in Fayette, Boyle & Clark counties. They must be a first-generation college student, meet income standards set by the federal government, and demonstrate the potential to earn a college degree.