Peter Budryck, founder of the program at Wesleyan University


Upward Bound and the Excel Programs

What does Upward Bound/ConnCAP do?

WUB/ConnCAP is a year round program serving 125 students in grades 9-12 from Middletown, Meriden, and Portland. The program begins at the end of grade 8. The students  participate, as Freshmen, in a ten day rite of passage at Great Hollow Wilderness School, a  1500-acre nature preserve in New Fairfield, Connecticut, owned and operated by the Regional Y of Western Connecticut. The students develop self-confidence and goal-setting skills, and learn the importance of team work, as well as social and personal responsibility.

These skills are developed through experiences involving technical rock climbing, canoeing, caving, backpacking, and meeting the challenges of a ropes course.

All students participate in a six week non-residential summer program at the University. The program is designed to prepare students academically and socially for the upcoming school year. In addition to academics, students participate in activities addressing the issues which affect today's teens: AIDS, teen pregnancy, drugs, and alcohol. Students also participate in a courtesy and manners program.

During the academic year, Upward Bound/ConnCAP students receive academic tutoring, advising and counseling. High school advisors follow the progress of the students. Students participate in financial aid workshops and attend SAT classes.

All students  are members of the UB/ConnCAP club at their schools. The students are required to participate in social and cultural activities as well as perform community service. In short, UB/ConnCAP stands for respect for others, respect for yourself, and for the pursuit of lifelong learning!

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The EXCEL Program:

EXCEL is part of a programmatic collaboration between Wesleyan University and the Middletown Public Schools.  Students participating in these collaborative programs – ASCEND, EXCEL, and Upward Bound/ConnCAP – represent the first generation of his/her family potentially to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college and whose family income meets certain guidelines.  After completing the EXCEL program, students have the opportunity to apply to the Upward Bound /ConnCAP program.

EXCEL is a voluntary year-round program designed to help middle school students with academics to enable them to succeed in middle school as well as to prepare them for high school and college.  During the summer, students attend a summer program that provides academic instruction, cultural events, team building and motivational development experiences.  Throughout the academic year, students are matched with an Advisor/Teacher from their school who monitors their classroom performance and provides academic support.  The comprehensive, year-round support provided through EXCEL helps to assure that students have every opportunity to reach their dreams.

The EXCEL program seeks to instill respect for self, respect for others, and to develop a commitment to life-long learning for students from potential first generation to college backgrounds.  The efforts of the Wesleyan University/Middletown Public Schools Collaborative serve to provide students with educational opportunities, motivational development and experiential education activities that facilitate academic success.  These opportunities contribute to the overall goal of the program to inculcate students and their families with the idea that college is possible and to improve student academic performance eventually leading to enrollment into postsecondary education.