Going, going, gone: A UB Farewell

Senior year is always a bittersweet milestone/transition. While students eagerly look forward to the experiences offered via young adulthood, high school has inarguably created memories that will last a lifetime. To commemorate the passage from high school to higher education, the successful completion of Upward Bound, over $200,000 in scholarships, and maintaining a trend of a 100 percentage acceptance rate, seniors were celebrated with an Italian feast hosted by Parisi’s Italiano Ristorante.

After indulging on great cuisine and shared UB memories, the Class of 2016 was officially recognized for their resilience, academic tenacity, and hard work. While each student was presented a certificate of completion, a "prep bag," and a graduation cord to highlight the conclusion of the Upward Bound experience, the UB Valedictorian, Alicia Downs and Salutatorian, Adam Lula received special recognition for their exemplary academic efforts.

Alicia Downs, the 2016 UB Class Valedictorian, is a graduating senior of Clay High School where she is a member of the Lady Colonials Softball & Golf Teams as well as, the Clay High School Marching Band & Orchestra. In addition to her active participation as an Upward Bound Scholar, Alicia is heavily involved with community organizations and initiatives such as the South Bend Youth Task Force and a regular volunteer for various community organizations. Graduating with a 3.9, Ms. Downs has been offered over $100,000 in scholarships. While the decision was difficult, Alicia will be taking her talents to Purdue University this summer on a full academic scholarship.

Adam Lula, an early graduate (the second in his family to do so) of South Bend Career Academy is the 2016 UB Class Salutatorian. While Adam spends most of his time researching all things engineering, he also works alongside his teachers as a “teaching assistant” to help his peers. Nonetheless, Adam still finds time to volunteer within the community.  In addition to his UB Salutatorian status, Adam is also this year’s valedictorian for South Bend Career Academy. Alongside the 2016 UB Valedictorian Alicia Downs, Adam will also be attending Purdue University on a full academic scholarship where he plans to major in engineering. This summer, Adam will participate in this year’s Upward Bound Bridge Program at the University of Notre Dame.

Similar to last year’s senior celebration, the 2nd Annual Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C Award of Excellence was presented. Maintaining tradition, the Hesburgh Award of Excellence is presented to an Upward Scholar that exemplifies the core values and standards of dignity, diligence, ambition, and decency, as well as, social consciousness, civic engagement, integrity, scholarship, and faith. This year’s Award of Excellence was presented to Noor Hussein.

Noor Hussein is a graduating senior of John Adams High School. Maintaining a 3.3 GPA, Noor is a participant of the Indiana Certified Public Accountants Scholars (INCPAS) program, the JAHS senior class coordinator, a member of the prom planning committee, the JAHS volunteer association, the JAHS Student Government Association, and senior class president. In addition to her extracurricular activities at JAHS, Noor works part-time and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion. To assist students as they transition from middle school to high school, Noor was instrumental in creating a multicultural success event to provide students and families with tools to embrace differences when entering high school. Noor was also impactful in assisting with the collection of water for residents of Flint, Michigan. Noor will be attending IU-Bloomington on a full academic scholarship where she plans to major in business.

After students, parents, and staff provided UB memories and final remarks, the UB staff presented students with a video highlighting the beauty of growth, accomplishments, and possibilities.

Congratulations to the Mighty Class of 2016!