This year, the Upward Bound program at Hiwassee College sent two students to participate. Maegen Hughes from Meigs County High School and Zachary Vaughn from McMinn County High School were among 150 Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science, and Talent Search students from 25 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam who participated in the event.
Participants (or delegates) in NSLC are rising juniors or seniors who are nominated by their TRIO Directors because of their leadership potential.
During their week in Washington, the students resided at American University and participated in an interactive workshop on conflict resolution, attended discussions about college, visited the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, went on a historical and cultural tour of Washington, D.C, and attended a performance at the Kennedy Center.
On Tuesday, the students went to Capitol Hill to visit their Members of Congress and advocate for their TRIO programs. The week concluded with a leadership banquet, Showtime at TRIO Talent Show, and a dance.
One of the highlights of NSLC is the Mock Congress which is designed to extend the values of democracy and citizen participation by engaging the students in activities that address current issues of concern, increase their analytical skills to successfully prioritize important issues and courses of action, and gain a better understanding of the legislative process.
In the Mock Congress, the students examine current issues and discuss viewpoints for and against the issue.
They must research, write, debate, and develop bills of legislation. The steps of the process are similar to those in Congress itself. Students examine the topic, select a subtopic for the subcommittee, research and craft the bill in subcommittee, sponsor debate of the merits of the bill, complete final mark-up on the bill to be ready for full floor reading and voting, and present the bill to the full “Congress.”
Some of the bills introduced this year included violence in video games, whether privacy in social media should be protected, the question of whether school cafeterias contribute to the Nation’s obesity problem, and same-sex marriage.
Carolyn McKeethen, Hiwassee College Upward Bound director, stated, “For the past several years we have chosen one or two rising seniors to participate in this opportunity. It is a wonderful experience and our students have returned with a much better working knowledge of how our government works. They had a great time and really enjoyed the research involved to enable them to argue both sides of the issues.”
Hiwassee College Upward Bound is a TRIO program that serves high school students in Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs and Polk counties. The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
They are administered, funded, and implemented by the United States Department of Education. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.