NMH Upward Bound celebrates 50 years

  • Mireya Ortiz (left) and Natalie Figueroa work on calculus during NMH Upward Bound’s 2017 Summer Academy. Contributed photo

  • Jenise Peart raises her hand to respond to the Word of the Day during NMH Upward Bound's 2017 Summer Academy. —Contributed photo/Michael Dwyer

  • Northfield Mount Hermon School science teacher Andrew Corwin (left) helps Simon Lorenzo with a calculus problem during NMH Upward Bound’s 2017 Summer Academy. Contributed photo

Recorder Staff
Friday, November 10, 2017

GILL — Having helped first-generation, low-income students prepare for college since 1967, Northfield Mount Hermon School’s Upward Bound chapter is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a ceremony on Nov. 18.

According to an NMH press release, the event, which will be held from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in NMH’s Alumni Hall, is intended for alumni, former staff and supporters of Upward Bound. Alumni and staff who have supported the program will be recognized, and will give speeches.

“We want to demonstrate how successful an impact NMH Upward Bound has made over the past 50 years,” said Breyana Roman, NMH Upward Bound’s assistant director. “We’ve made a difference in many students’ lives and we hope to continue to provide the same, if not better, services to our future students for many years to come.”

Roman said when NMH Upward Bound began in 1967, then president Howard L. Jones thought Upward Bound would further the school’s mission of providing education to disadvantaged students. At first, the program only served women, Roman said, but became more co-educational as the years went by.

When she first got involved in 2009, as a first-generation student herself, Roman said she felt particularly connected to NMH Upward Bound’s mission. Roman said she’s routinely inspired by seeing the impact NMH Upward Bound has on students, like Keyona Jones. Though Jones found herself homeless in her junior year of high school, she persevered to earn a master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Roman said.

Today, Roman said NMH Upward Bound serves about 100 students yearly, providing them with skills necessary to be successful in high school and then transition to college. For example, NMH Upward Bound offers a six-week Summer Academy that involves studying math, science, composition and literature to give students “a foundation to be more successful when returning to school,” Roman said. Providing support with college applications is also a key component of the program.

Speakers during the ceremony include former staff member Dottie Morris, past director Gisele Litalien and 2004 graduate Wilfredo Giordano-Perez. Roman said alumni being honored for their consistent dedication to the program are Danielle Brown, Kibbs Fortilus, Keyona Jones, Adriana Lara and Gordon Burnett.

According to NMH’s website, the event involves a cocktail hour with appetizers and music by the Criollo Classico Trio from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; speeches and recognitions from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; and dancing with music by Banda Criolla from 8 to 10 p.m. Though there is no seated dinner, small plates and an open bar will be available throughout the evening.

Tickets are $20 for current Upward Bound families and alumni who graduated between 2012 and 2017; $30 for former Upward Bound staff, former Upward Bound parents and guardians, and alumni who graduated before 2012; and $50 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/2hiw2dc, by calling 413-498-3416, by mail or at the door.