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High Country Students Hold Workshop to Celebrate Multiculturalism and Diversity

The Upward Bound Program at Appalachian State University in conjunction with Central Carolina Community College recently held a Multicultural Appreciation Workshop for over 50 Upward Bound sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 

The virtual event was part of the Upward Bound Central Carolina Community College Cyber Cafe, an event held weekly since the pandemic began. A student leadership board composed of Upward Bound students from the Appalachian State University and CCCC programs helped to plan the agenda which included a presentation on the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity; a cultural flavor display highlighting dishes from varying cultures; and a TikTok challenge asking students to cook a favorite food significant to their culture. 

Upward Bound scholars on the student committee included Ana Rosa Francisco-Santes, Vanessa Hamm, Jacob Canastuj, Cloe Miller, David Platero, Samanda Hernandez-Laines, Green Lee, Rocio Pimentel, and Obiora Ude.

“Upward Bound scholars really are the cream of the crop; their shared interests, passions and dedication to the success of their future and our society really allows them to relate and contribute to such rich conversations. The idea of a student-led workshop to raise awareness, appreciation and understanding of different cultures and social problems originated from Upward Bound sophomore Samantha Hernandez-Laines during a school visit. All of our student leaders really put in a lot of hard work from brainstorming the workshop content, attending and contributing to multiple meetings and follow-up meetings to implementing and leading such a dynamic program! The collaboration between Central Carolina Community College’s and Appalachian State University’s programs was such a great idea! It was so refreshing to connect and engage in such interactive and meaningful discussions. I am always amazed, empowered and inspired by Upward Bound scholars. Youth are our future, and it makes me very grateful knowing that these bright young minds are doing the work and having important conversations now that will shape our tomorrow. A very special thank you to everyone that participated and contributed to the Multicultural Appreciation workshop!” — Amanda Alston, Program Coordinator of Upward Bound at CCCC. 

 “It was fun hearing what the students had “cooked up,” like Irish soda bread, livermush, Tteokguk, churros, and shepherd’s pie. Though most of these students had not met before, they were comfortable discussing controversial and hard topics, including diversity, equality, and inclusion and were eager to share their dishes. It was inspiring to see the students connect with each other in such a respectful and meaningful way. I am very appreciative of Amanda’s invitation for our group to join in their Cyber Cafe and we hope to continue our collaboration [with CCCC] during the summer program.  — Appalachian State Upward Bound Academic Coordinator, Kim Grater

“Working on this event was such a fun and rewarding experience. Not only was it so great to see the two groups working together, but the initiative from these students was exceptional. They took the reins and created something that was fun, educational, and an amazing celebration of different cultures. Their hard work and leadership really shone through. —  Lauren Cavagnini, Upward Bound Mentor

“This was an amazing opportunity for both students and facilitators alike to share their culinary heritage and discuss the importance of celebrating those roots. Students engaged in mature and well-developed conversations about equity, equality, and what it looks like to be an advocate for change.” —  Joseph Wheeler, Upward Bound Mentor

“I learned more about my peers and their viewpoints on different cultures.” — Upward Bound student

“I learned how close by and how many varieties of cultural dishes there are.” — Upward Bound student

Upward Bound is federally funded and helps high school students develop skills and motivation they need to succeed in high school and gives students necessary tools to enter and be successful in college. To achieve these goals, Upward Bound provides academic support, social and cultural enrichment, and opportunities for personal growth. These services are provided absolutely free of charge. To learn more, visit upward bound.appstate.edu.