38th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program

MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program

38th Annual MLK Leadership Award

The staff of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program was selected as recipients of the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award for an organization.

MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound is a year-round (from time of entrance until graduation from high school) educational program serving fifty (50) low-income and/or first generation* high school students who live in Cambridge and attend Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS).

The 46-year-old program stresses the development of academic skills and motivation for students who might not traditionally be considered college-bound.

“This program has not only helped me realize my academic potential, it has given me a second family," student Richard Kieser would tell city councillors a year later in 2013, when Upward Bound faced closing due to budget cuts.  "I have seen the program turn girls into sisters, boys into brothers, men and women into leaders. I have watched a shy guy who stood in the back stand up and take responsibility for the program,” Kieser said. “The thought of this program not being here breaks my heart…Today I got my first acceptance letter to college, and the first thing I did when I got off the phone was run to tell my U.B. mothers.”

The Upward Bound staff felt especially honored by the MLK Leadership Award recognition because their nomination was submitted to the committee by the student body, an effort led by graduating senior Ziara Queen-Walker.

MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound staff, 2012. L to R: Ronald S. Crichlow, Director of Educational Opportunity Programs; Flora J. Keumurian, Education Program Specialist; Elaine N. Thomas, Administrative Assistant,;Lourdes R. Pires, Assistant Director; Evette M. Layne, Director; and Eric Grimson, MIT Chancellor.