"Achieve & Upward Bound: Embodying Nobles’ Commitment to Leadership for the Public Good" by Director of the Anderson/Cabot Center for EXCEL Ben Snyder
The Nobles’ mission could hardly be more aspirational given the commitment to “inspiring leadership for the public good.” Nobles is well known for the challenge of its academic program; the creative and inspirational pedagogy of the faculty; and the breadth and depth of service, travel and study away programs. Less well known, however, are the ways in which Nobles has been steadily and effectively serving the public good through two programs that benefit low income students from Boston and Lawrence to help them realize the advantages of higher education through our Achieve and Upward Bound programs - both part of EXCEL at Nobles.
The summer of 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Nobles/University of Massachusetts Boston Math/Science Upward Bound program. Upward Bound is a federally funded academic program that targets low income high school students who would be in the first generation of their family to attend college. The six-week summer residential program (along with ongoing academic support during the school year) for students of promise from Lawrence, MA has been directed by a Nobles’ faculty member since inception and is currently directed by history teacher, coach, and class dean Edgar DeLeon N’04 who first came to Nobles as an Upward Bound student (see feature on Edgar and Upward Bound in the upcoming Nobles magazine). Edgar DeLeon succeeded current Dean of Students and history teacher, Marcela Maldonado, who served in that role for more than a decade.
What is distinctive about the Nobles’ version of Upward Bound is the direct connection between Nobles faculty, curriculum, and young graduates in the creation and delivery of the program. While funding for the program comes through U-Mass Boston, the program has been built through the hard work of generations of Nobles faculty - Tilesy Harrington, Alden Mauck, Doug Jankey and countless others. Dozens of Nobles teachers have given up their summers to work with Upward Bound students, and over one hundred young Nobles graduates have served as “CA’s” in the summers delivering extracurricular programming, supervising the dormitories, and counseling students. Roughly four hundred students who would not have gone to college have gained access to and realized the benefits of a Nobles’ education through Upward Bound - affirming Nobles’ commitment to providing educational opportunity to those who could not otherwise afford it.
Realizing the success of Upward Bound prompted the founding of Achieve at Nobles in 2008 - again serving a low income middle school student population (this time for eighty students from Boston). Directed by Nobles history teacher, Nora Dowley-Liebowitz, and using the Pratt Middle School as its home, Achieve’s six week summer academic and social enrichment program is supplemented by eighteen Saturday sessions during the school year. Again, Nobles faculty members such as Jody McQuillan and Eric Nguyen have been intimately involved in the development of the Achieve curriculum and measuring its effectiveness. Like Upward Bound, young Nobles graduates have worked since inception as teaching assistants but unique to the program are the 75 current Nobles students who serve as tutors in the program. Achieve is funded entirely through private donations, and current and former Nobles parents, trustees, and graduates make up the Achieve advisory board. Achieve has consistently monitored the progress of its students and works with students (and their families) to place them in high performing public, parochial and independent schools to assure access to higher education.
In so many ways Achieve and Upward Bound embody Nobles’ commitment to the public good. Nobles utilizes its facilities and staff in the summer (and on Saturdays during the school year) to help young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the gifts of a Nobles’ education, putting them on the path to college. Both programs are essential to the Nobles’ mission, are closely connected to hundreds of people in the Nobles’ community, and enrich the lives of both the students who attend the programs and those fortunate enough to work with them.