A 100-person choir performed “Identities,” which included a poem written by Wesleyan Upward Bound student Chelsea Anthony. Chelsea is pictured front and center with Ahmed Badr ’20, who led a storytelling workshop that resulted in Chelsea’s poem being published.
How did a young refugee from Iraq inspire a high school student from New Britain, Conn., to write a poem that went on to be performed by a 100-person choir made up of high schoolers from around the East Coast?
It all began at Wesleyan.
Ahmed Badr ’20 was born in Iraq and came to the United States as a refugee in 2008, after his family’s home in Baghdad was bombed by militia troops. As he struggled to adjust to life in the U.S., he started a personal blog to write about his experiences, and “found it incredibly empowering” to share his story.
“I soon began to realize the power of storytelling to inspire and bring people together,” he wrote on his website, Narratio. Determined to empower other youth, he created Narratio to publish written work by young people around the globe. It has been recognized by the United Nations, We are Family Foundation, and featured on NPR and Instagram. Today, Badr is a sophomore at Wesleyan, studying anthropology and pursuing independent projects as an Allbritton Fellow and Patricelli Center Fellow, while continuing to run Narratio, which includes leading creative storytelling workshops for youth around the country.
Read more →
The Wesleyan Upward Bound Math-Science Program is in full swing here on the Wesleyan campus. The year-round program, which serves low-income, first-generation and under-represented rising freshman through high school seniors, serves 90 to 100 students during the academic year and approximately 70 students during its six-week summer session.
The program’s director, Teshia Levy-Grant ’00 was a first-generation student at Wesleyan. “I recognize the need,” she said. “I know what it’s like to try to navigate the education system, and I want to help these students succeed.”
The grant-funded program relies on the support of volunteer tutors, many of whom are Wesleyan students. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)
During the summer, Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math and Science program provides introductions to the math, science and English classes students will be taking in the next academic year, giving those students a solid foundation on which to build. Students also participate in team-building exercises outdoors.
Read more →
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science Program with a $1,250,000 grant on Sept. 12, 2012. The award will be used to support the program through Sept. 30, 2018.
Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science and Collaborative Programs prepare hundreds of local youth (from elementary school to high school) for college and strengthen their math and science skills by providing rigorous academic summer experiences as well as ongoing academic enrichment and tutorial support, college visits, and assistance with prep school, college application and financial application processes during the school year.
Beverly Hunter-Daniel, director of the Wesleyan Public Schools Collaborative for the Upward Bound Program, received a Educational Incentive Challenge Grant worth $8,000 from the City of Middletown Youth Service Advisory Board.
Donna Thompson, director of the Upward Bound Program, received a grant worth $212,965 from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education for fiscal year 2011.
Willard M. McRae, co-founder of Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Program, recently received Liberty Bank’s ninth annual Community Diversity Award. The Community Diversity Award was introduced in 2001 to recognize people who build bridges between those of different races, economic backgrounds, faiths, cultures and capabilities, according to the bank.
McRae was awarded at a reception among area dignitaries at St. Clements Castle in Portland, Conn., in late October for his lifelong dedication to creating opportunities for children and adults in the areas of education, mental health and human services.
In presenting the award, Liberty Bank President and CEO Chandler Howard called attention to the increasing diversity of the Connecticut population over the past few decades. “Our community today has many different faces … many different voices,” Howard said in a Nov. 7 Middletown Press article. “The Community Diversity Award was conceived to honor a few very special people who have led the way in bringing all those different voices into harmony. These are people who look at differences, and see opportunities. They experience the unfamiliar, and feel enriched by it. They listen to disagreements, and find common ground. Willard McRae is one of those special people.”