BSCC Upward Bound students to attend national conference

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 6/8/19

Two Bevill State Community College Upward Bound students have been invited to a leadership event in Washington, D.C.Rising seniors Araceli Ramirez of Carbon Hill High School and Brennon Ballard of …

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BSCC Upward Bound students to attend national conference

Posted

Two Bevill State Community College Upward Bound students have been invited to a leadership event in Washington, D.C.

Rising seniors Araceli Ramirez of Carbon Hill High School and Brennon Ballard of Hamilton High School will travel this weekend to the 30th Annual National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC), titled "Creating a Legacy of Leadership."

According to information provided by Bevill State, from June 8-13, the students will participate in many activities to strengthen their leadership skills, including a mock Congress debate and character building workshops.

Breakout sessions at NSLC will teach students to prepare for the next chapter in their lives by giving advice on applying for college, seeking internships, managing finances and dressing professionally.

They will also travel around D.C. to visit places such as the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian museums, Georgetown, Capitol Hill and Union Station. A night tour of monuments will provide another fun opportunity for participants to learn about the country's history. 

Bevill State Upward Bound coordinators Donna Swinney (Hamilton) and Gina Thomason (Sumiton) spoke highly of Ramirez and Ballard and their accomplishments.

"Brennon has kept a high GPA. He has always had great attendance and is an outgoing student. He's very focused on his education and goals," Swinney said. "Upward Bound is one of his top priorities, but he plays sports as well. He's just a very well-rounded young man. He's done well and will be one of our success stories."

Thomason said Ramirez has been a strong representative of Upward Bound as well for the Sumiton campus.

"Araceli is very self-motivated. Her parents didn't speak English, so Araceli taught herself English by watching TV. It's just very impressive to me, and she's a self-motivator and a go-getter," Thomason said. "She has the type of personality that interacts well with others. Araceli is a wonderful young woman."

To be considered for NSLC, students had to submit an application and write essays about their future goals.

Ramirez and Ballard are two of only 179 TRIO students from more than 34 states, Guam and Puerto Rico that were chosen to attend NSLC. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education's website, Upward Board is under the umbrella of TRIO — eight federally funded programs that help people who may have come from a "disadvantaged background." TRIO also assists people with disabilities. 

Upward Bound serves low-income and first-generation college students and encourages them to stay committed to secondary education and to further their education after high school. Students participate in tutoring, academic instruction, counseling and other services to stay on a motivated path.

According to Thomason, 50 students participate in Bevill State's Upward Bound program in Walker County.

Thomason said Bevill State provides tutoring and mock simulated college classes for high school Upward Bound students, and high school graduates have the opportunity to take two college courses at Bevill State free of charge.