Upward Bound graduates set sights on college in the fall

Thirty-five graduates from Upward Bound, RIC’s college preparatory program, celebrated their graduation in commencement exercises in the Student Union Ballroom on June 1. The Class of 2010 was the 44th in the history of the program.

Graduates list

Photo gallery

Gary Penfield, vice president for Student Affairs (left), and Mariam
Boyajian, director of RIC Upward Bound, greet the graduates.
The commencement address was given by Razvan Mirica, a 2000 Upward Bound and Hope High School grad. Mirica, who has a degree in computer engineering from Brown University, is now a chartered retirement planning counselor at Ameriprise Financial.

“In order to make planning for success a reality you have to hold yourself accountable,” he told the Upward Bound graduates.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo presented diplomas to the students. Administrators of the four target school districts and the Upward Bound Alumni Scholarship Committee announced the 2010 scholarship recipients.

Twelve of the graduates began their enrollment in Upward Bound while in their first year of high school, while 18 began in their sophomore year and five as juniors. Students were accepted to 38 colleges and universities and will go on to 13 of them in the fall, among them, Clark University, Georgetown University, Skidmore College and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Razvan Mirica gives the commencement
“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the class as a whole and of each graduate,” said Mariam Boyajian, director of Upward Bound at RIC. “In addition, I am very appreciative of the support extended by the entire Rhode Island College community, the target schools, and the staff and faculty of Upward Bound.”

Two founders of Upward Bound at RIC – Raymond Houghton and Maureen Lapan – visited with the senior class prior to the commencement.

The Upward Bound program is a piece of RIC heritage. In 1966, RIC was one of the first institutions in the country to receive federal funding for the Upward Bound initiative. The program is designed to help at-risk students from low-income families graduate high school and become the first in their families to continue on to higher education.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo addresses the
Upward Bound grads.
During its existence at RIC, more than 2,000 students from high schools with the highest drop-out rates in Rhode Island have succeeded in the program and gone on to enroll in some of the best-known colleges and universities in the country.

Students who have become doctors, teachers, lawyers, and business executives have credited Upward Bound for playing a critical role in helping them realize their potential.

Boyajian announced that the program has received a grant from the U. S. Department of Education for the period June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011.

“Upward Bound will continue to devote itself to helping at-risk students from the target communities, who otherwise would have little or no hope of pursuing an education beyond the secondary level, reach their full potential,” Boyajian said.