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Students from five Calhoun County high schools will participate in the Upward Bound Program at the Ayers Campus of Gadsden State Community College this summer. Program Director Sharon McGruder said that students from Saks, White Plains, Wellborn, Anniston and Oxford High Schools will participate in the program, which begins June 6 and concludes with a three-day trip to Tennessee July 14.

Upward Bound prepares underserved and first generation high school students for greater success in college and life through various instructional and enrichment courses during the year. Additional support will be provided for students who are at risk of academic failure during the summer program.

Students will spend the first weeks of the program on the Jacksonville State University Campus while attending math, science, Spanish and English workshops. “There will be added emphasis on computer skills training and special science workshops to help students prepare for the high school exit exam,” McGruder said.

During the final weeks, students will return to the Ayers Campus where they will focus on their future. There will be discussions on career choices and decision-making skills concerning careers. The students will also be exposed to a new program feature, financial planning and budget management.

The trip to Chattanooga/Gatlinburg will include visits to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and in Chattanooga. While in Gatlinburg, the group will visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Theater, theme parks and other tourists sights and take a ride on the Southern Belle Riverboat.

McGruder explained that the trip is beneficial for the students because it gives them an opportunity to grow by expanding their cultural and life experiences in a positive way. For more information contact Sharon McGruder at or (256) 835-5461.

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