Upward Bound Class of 2017: Scholars & the City (New York)

As NDTS traveled to Los Angeles for spring break, Upward Scholars took their sky miles to the City…of New York.

As students arrived at the LaGuardia Airport, everyone echoed how calm the city appeared to be. Then, the doors opened, the crisp April breeze blew in, cars were bumper to bumper, sounds of horns filled the air, and the driver yelled, “Welcome to New York!”

After managing the intense NYC traffic, students arrived in the heart of the Big Apple – Times Square. As students attempted to navigate through the busy streets, they soon realized their Midwestern pace would be a challenge. “Everyone is moving so fast,” said Carolina Hampton as we piled into New York subway cars. Surviving NYC transit, students explored the pleasantries of Union Station, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, and New York University (NYU).   

Following a long but eventful first day, students were prepared to be Scholars in the City. Considering students were in middle school when the historical 9-11 occurred, the tour (including the One World Trade Center) was informative and emotional. “As a Muslim-American, while this is a tragedy for America, this is also a tragedy for the Muslim community. Having multiple identities [Muslim & American] this experience created a unique dialogue. I am grateful for this experience,” said Lamyaa Hussein. To detox from what was noticeably an eye-opening experience, students trekked along the Brooklyn Bridge, visited St. John’s University, held dialogue with students at Columbia University, and ended the evening with a 360 view of the city on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.

Ending the excursion, students dined at NYC’s Junior’s to provide much needed energy to take on the remaining NYC experience. Midday, students boarded ferries to visit the Statute of Liberty/Ellis Island, the historical gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States. “This is beautiful, that’s all I can say,” said Tyniqua Taylor in awe of the exhibits capturing the experience of “becoming American.” The students later visited the UN Plaza where they were able to observe a live session among UN Committee members. To finalize the NY experience, students watched a live Broadway performance of the Lion King followed by dinner at Carmine’s in the heart of Times Square.