“It’s a woman’s world, men just live in it.” Strong words from Angela Gill in support of her perception of her role in life.
There are many people who make a difference, whose presence dictates the course of direction. Gill and Roman Kolyvanov are two high school students who hope to guarantee the assurance of bigger and better things to come.
Gill and Kolyvanov are two of 80 students who participated in Upward Bound’s summer program.
The theme for this year was “You, Me, Us: Living for a Diverse World.”
Students gathered at Hoffman Hall on Aug. 1 to celebrate their successful completion of rigorous and fun-filled studies of diversity.
Friends and parents who arrived at the Portland State campus, were allowed a colorful insight into a gallery of student projects in the form of extraordinary photographic slides, humorous and educative skits, speeches, readings of student’s course work and musical extravaganzas by the students.
Upward Bound is a non-profit group working to expand opportunities in higher education for disadvantaged youth and was started in 1965, with an enrollment of 2,061 students according to the Council Journal.
It forms a support network with the Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services network to provide high school sophomores and seniors with prep-work for college, financial advice and answers to questions and concerns they may have.
Phillip Dirks, director of Upward Bound, described the program as being “highly effective” and emphasized their inherent commitment to “doing something about wealth and educational disparity in a society that is not set up (for disadvantaged youth) to succeed.”
Maggie Clegg, one of the instructors, described the summer 2002 program as an opportunity for students to “expand multicultural and multiracial understanding.”
Clegg taught a course in Comparative Religion. She had her class study Buddhism, Hinduism and visit a Jewish temple to help them understand the diverse and culturally rich world.
Students started their program with a one-week camp where they were introduced to their teachers through the use of personal life stories, games, team building exercises, critical thinking and intercultural and interpersonal communication skills.
The summer program was also marked with a collaboration between Upward Bound and a Portland State senior capstone class.
Professor Mary Seitz described the class as a college level course designed to build a community partnership where emphasis would be laid on communication skills, civic responsibility, applications of diversity, multicultural studies and critical thinking and analysis.
Describing her class as having consisted mainly of education majors, the class worked with “crises schools” around the Portland metro area tutoring math and English and assisting students with questions concerning applications to colleges.
Kristin Teigen, one of the several capstone students, described the experience as “great” and an opportunity “to encourage students” in their pursuit of ambitious career goals. She insisted that all credit must go to the students themselves and to Upward Bound for helping them reach higher goals and motivating the future of the young.
Teigen described her amazement at the poetry written and recited by both Gill and Kolyvanov and was immediately struck with the honesty, sincerity and passion of the young poets.
Gill attributed the Upward Bound program as being “the starting point” for her future goals. Describing her experience with Upward Bound as being a great introduction to college, Angela stated her final goal was to become an obstetrician.
On being quizzed about her talent for poetry, she merely smiled and shrugged before animatedly launching into the effect her brother, Johnny Gill had had on her.
“When he’s in it, I am.” The smile which appeared on her face did not disappear, continuing “I guess I just have to be into it.”
Describing her summer experience as a tool that would take her far, she made a special mention of the field trips, scholarship assistance and tutoring Upward Bound had provided her and other students.
Roman Kolyvanov said he had enjoyed participating with the Upward Bound program in the past two years and looked forward to carrying his lessons further into the “real world.”
Describing his experience as having been “almost like school but funnier” he reflected that the course did have its challenging times. However, he matter-of-factly continued, “better to be doing this than nothing.”
Kolyvanov said he would finish this summer with an added motivation to finish high school next year and focus on an architecture degree.
The summer program conducted by Upward Bound has been infinitely successful in churning out a group of mature, open and intelligent individuals who will write success stories of their own.