Upward Bound, Talent Search participants learn teamwork at Summer Jam

More than 500 high school students attended Upward Bound's Summer Jam at CSUMB

Kevin Martinez will have to make some tough decisions about his education when he graduates from Soledad High School in 2016.

The 14-year-old, who is thinking about becoming a doctor, is leaning toward attending Stanford or a University of California campus.

Quentin Davis, a senior at Seaside High who is considering a career in business law or psychiatry before heading into politics, will also have to decide which road to take when he graduates next June.

But thanks to their participation in the Upward Bound program – Kevin at CSU Monterey Bay and Quentin at UC Berkeley – both students think they will be well-prepared to make the right choices.

On June 21, they were among 540 high school students enrolled in Upward Bound and a related program called Educational Talent Search who gathered at CSU Monterey Bay for Summer Jam, a day of fun and games geared to teach leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Students came from programs based at Fresno State, College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Berkeley and CSUMB.

The Upward Bound program serves high school students from low-income families and students from families in which neither parent holds a college degree. They receive tutoring, counseling and mentoring; participate in summer programs at CSUMB and other colleges and universities where they take classes for high school and college credit; learn how to apply to college and for financial aid; and go on tours of college campuses.

“The program has taught me about college life, and helped me improve my study habits,” Kevin said. Added Quentin: “Upward Bound has broadened my idea of career choices.”

At Summer Jam, students representing dozens of high schools were divided into teams, identified by various colored T-shirts.

Schools were not allowed to compete individually; instead, students from one school were mixed with students from another to make a team.

“That’s so they meet people outside their circle and learn about teamwork,” said Perry Angle of Fresno City College’s Division of Student Services.

The friendly competition, which was punctuated throughout the day with loud cheering, clapping and laughter, included a rocket launch, a game of Jeopardy that tested their college knowledge, a tug-of-war, a contest that involved building a tower with drinking straws and a spelling bee.

At CSUMB, the Upward Bound program serves Soledad, Watsonville, North Monterey County and Pajaro Valley high schools. Pajaro Valley and North County are new to the program, so statistics are not yet available. But, students at Soledad and Watsonville who have gone through the program have a 98 percent high school graduation rate.

CSUMB’s Education Talent Search program serves students at Alisal, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Seaside, Soledad and Watsonville high schools.

Learn more about Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search at Cal State Monterey Bay.