Upward Bound provides new opportunities to high school students


Lucy Mason

Seniors Marie-Claire Broohm and Mia Birch are leaders in Creighton’s Upward Bound program.

Marie-Claire Broohm was in her freshman year when she first learned about a program called Upward Bound. Three years later, in her senior year, she has become the president of the program. 

Upward Bound, which is run through Creighton University, had a booth during her lunch period, where she met Upward Bound Senior Coordinator Deanna Prentice. Prentice told her all about the program and gave her an application for it, if she was interested. She ended up filling out the application, and once she returned it, was invited to do an interview.  

“I did the interview,” Broohm said, “and they said, ‘We like you, you’re cool,’ and they said I could join when sophomore year started.” 

The Upward Bound Program is not unique to Creighton; programs like it exist across the country, catering to high school students. 

“Upward Bound Programs (UBP) are federally funded programs designed to assist students in developing the academic skills and personal growth necessary for successful completion of high school and admission to a four-year university,” Creighton’s website said. 

Once a student is in the program at Creighton, the main requirement is that they attend a meeting at least once a week. 

“You get a stipend for every complete week you attend,” Broohm said. “So, you should be going once a week for two hours to get your stipend. Then, you need to do some volunteer activities, and you need to go to some other fun activities. You get a stipend at the end of the month that equates to how much you did. And then, there’s also Saturday morning classes, so if you go to those, you also get that added to your stipend.” 

Students in the program use a lot of their meeting time to work on their homework, and the seniors use some of it to work on scholarship applications. They also get to participate in different fun activities, Broohm said. Some of their more recent activities include using “plarn” (plastic bag yarn) to make blankets, zip lining, and watching a movie together. 

As president of Upward Bound, Broohm attends and leads all of the program’s student council meetings. 

“The student council is run basically by the students,” Broohm said. “The administrators and the coordinators are there just to watch, just to make sure we’re doing our job right. So, we’ll pick the times that we meet, we’ll set up all the things we need to talk about, and then we’ll talk over what we need to set up for programming.” 

Recently, the student council has hosted a party in one of Creighton’s ballrooms for their members, and it is now working on raising money for scholarships by selling snacks. Broohm has found in her time on student council that the most challenging part of her job is finding ways to plan events that are both popular and effective. 

“It is difficult coming up with ideas that are good enough to satisfy people but are not just being people-pleasers,” Broohm said. “For example: video games. We are not allowed to bring video games, because we are not allowed to damage items and that is a big risk, even if people wanted to play them. So, we have to consider the options when we are picking out ideas for different things.” 

Upward Bound also takes students on a spring break trip, where the students get to select the state and a few colleges to visit while they are there. As a sophomore, Broohm went on one of these trips to Chicago, where she became interested in Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago. 

This summer, Broohm hopes to participate in Upward Bound’s summer program for seniors, which is intended to prepare students for college. In the meantime, she encourages more students to join the program. 

“For recommendations for eighth graders or incoming freshmen: try to look into this program to see if you can do it,” Broohm said. “I think it would be a big help for your high school career.”