Skip to content

Summer Bridge Program Changes Lives

July 29, 2019 | McNeese Public Relations
Portrait of students Takyra Gauthier, Audriana Obey, Jonae Vital and Alexander Roach
Upward Bound students Takyra Gauthier, Audriana Obey, Jonae Vital and Alexander Roach.

Six first-time freshmen spent seven weeks on campus this summer getting an early look at university life thanks to the Summer Bridge initiative sponsored by McNeese’s Upward Bound.

Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed for eligible high school students in grades 9-12. The program exposes potential first generation students to various colleges and mentors help them develop a plan to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Eligible students receive summer scholarships that pay all fees including tuition, books and supplies.

Enrolling in the summer term offers students from LaGrange and Washington Marion high schools in Lake Charles the opportunity to experience life as a Cowboy while staying connected to their Upward Bound mentors.

The freshman students in the program are: Takyra Gauthier, Patrick Gill, Audriana Obey, Samoa Palmer, Alexander Roach and Jonae Vital.

“We are very proud of these students and are thrilled to see them continue to thrive in their studies,” said Valeece Davis, Upward Bound project director. “We take pride in being a part of the university’s mission to change lives.”

Roach and Obey visited many universities in Louisiana and Texas, but they both agreed that McNeese was ultimately their First Choice.

“I was very impressed with many of the universities I was able to visit, but I was overwhelmed by the size of the campuses and classrooms,” said Obey. “McNeese offers one-on-one attention with professors that lead to personal references I can use for years to come.”

Roach appreciated the McNeese campus from previous activities he attended with Upward Bound.

“McNeese is close to home and affordable,” says Roach. “I was a dual enrollment student and a part of Upward Bound. Both of those experiences helped me connect with McNeese. Plus, I was offered a generous amount of scholarships including one of the Horatio Alger awards. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

For more information about McNeese’s Upward Bound program, contact Davis at 337-475-5444 or