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'Bound' for success


Students find help in college prep program



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Upward Bound Site Coordinator Eric Batista helps Southbridge High School junior Johonatan Pagan with math homework. The Upward Bound program is designed to help high school students that are underprivileged or have parents that don’t have four-year college degrees prepare for college. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
January 09, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — The future is looking brighter for 53 Southbridge High School students.

The pupils are part of the Southbridge division of the Upward Bound program, designed to help students that are under-privileged or have parents that don't have four-year college degrees prepare for college.

The program, which began in Southbridge in 2007, is federally funded and requires at least 50 students each year to take part.

"Last year, 10 of our original students graduated and nine of them went on to college," said Upward Bound Site Coordinator Eric Batista, who was born in Puerto Rico and helps many students learn Spanish. "Right now, we have only one student that doesn't speak English as their dominant language. I connect with her and I really try to work with her, telling her that she needs to be confident in trying to speak more English. Nearly 70 percent of our students are bilingual."

Batista estimates that only two or three students that applied haven't been accepted.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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