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Summer Camp Showcases College Life

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 07/20/2017 The Upward Bound group pauses for a quick photo at Lighthouse Buffet at Kemah Boardwalk during their recent educational trip that wrapped up a six-week summer camp. —Courtesy photo The Upward Bound group pauses for a quick photo at Lighthouse Buffet at Kemah Boardwalk during their recent educational trip that wrapped up a six-week summer camp. —Courtesy photo

Goodwell, Okla. — Summertime did not slow learning down one bit for area high school students in the Upward Bound program as they caught a glimpse of college life during a six-week summer program on the Oklahoma Panhandle State University campus. This summer 55 students participated in the camp held June 5 - July 10.

This year’s theme was “Hidden Figures…We are Hidden No More” and students were challenged to think of their future. The camp fully supports the program’s intent to give each student the tools they need to become successful as they further their education.

Students participate in classes on campus, stay in the dorms, and eat in the cafeteria for an experience similar to a college student’s weekly schedule. Each student is required to take math, science, English writing, and foreign language but may choose from a number of electives including Studio Art, Self-Defense, Novel, Leadership, History, Music, and Public Speaking.

While the camp places a great emphasis on education with a variety of courses available, leadership and service are also a major focus in the program. The group did community service in Guymon and Goodwell from picking up limbs to painting tables at Thompson Park in Guymon. Team building and group bonding activities were held each evening under the leadership of college students who also served as Resident Assistants (RAs) in the dorms.

The sixth week of camp saw an educational trip for the group with a visit to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston as well as stops at a slave plantation, a Holocaust Museum, and war ships in Galveston, Texas. A highlight for everyone on the trip was taking part in Escape the Room Texas which required teamwork and critical thinking skills to escape within the one hour allotted time.

Special thanks to all the instructors who helped make the camp possible:
Michael Harris - Algebra I
Robyn Harris - Geometry & Algebra II
Tenoch Ramon - Science
Melvin Jackson - Writing
Brad Taylor - History/Current Events & Guitar
Michelle Davis - Leadership & Novel
Lindsay Skelton - Public Speaking
Dustin Martinez & Rickie Baker - Studio Art
Mari Carmen Martinez - Zumba
Alex Trujillo - Music
Karen Esquivel - Novel & Reading Plus

Also a special thanks to the college students who served as RAs: Diego Arenas, Riyadh Asad, Alma Avalos, Viridiana Avalos, Krista Ochoa, Tierra Roberson, DaShawn Stephens, Alexandria Trujillo, Dominique Thomas, and Kameroné Wheeler.

Alexandria Trujillo, RA and instructor, had this to say, “It was an amazing experience. I never expected to connect with the students so well. They are driven, respectful, and so ready to learn. There wasn’t a single moment that I didn’t enjoy teaching and guiding them.”

The program is under the direction of Teri Mora and she is assisted by Davida Gomez. Both Mora and Gomez taught classes in addition to organizing the camp.

“This summer we saw tremendous growth in math and reading skills. Students had the opportunity to participate in a Reading Plus pilot program which continues through August 31,” said Mora. “Our summer theme opened up many great conversations about “hidden figures,” particularly in terms of diversity.”

Upward Bound is a federal program of the Department of Education that operates year-round. The program is designed to provide students with the skills and resources to be successful throughout their high school careers and prepare them to attend and graduate from college. Participants range from those who have completed eighth grade to students that just graduated from high school.

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