Hood River Valley High School

Excellence, Every Student, Everyday

  • Luis Lopez Vega

    Upward Bound Educational Advisor for Hood River Valley High School

     At a young age, I worked with my parents in the fields, and through that I learned the meaning of working hard and perseverance. As a First-Generation individual, navigating the school system has its challenges. Coming from a Spanish-only speaking household, my parents' help was limited due to the language barrier when it came to homework, assignments, projects, and school activities, but I always tried my best. I knew I had to be an example for my younger sibling and, on top of that, the dream of my parents of me pursuing higher education added more pressure. There were times when I felt lost because I did not know how to approach the idea of college. Luckily, I was able to overcome difficulties through the support I was able to receive from my mentors. Which is why I look forward to being the Upward Bound Advisor at HRVHS every day. I have the honor of having a positive impact on a student's life by connecting with them, assisting with resources, and helping find their passion. I once received this support from numerous mentors, and now here I am paying it forward by supporting students and their families to make dreams a reality.   

    How much does Upward Bound cost? Do I have to pay anything?

    Upward bound is free to all qualifying participants; there is no cost to you. The U.S. Department of Education pays for all costs.

    How can I become a participant in the Upward Bound Program?

    Your high school principal, counselor, or teacher(s) can recommend you; or, you can talk to the Education Advisor at South Albany High School and request an application. Each student must:

    • Have the potential to succeed, as determined by the program.
    • Be a citizen, or permanent resident of the United States.


    • Be classified in at least one category, as follows:
    • First-generation college student (neither parent/guardian has a four-year college degree).
    • Meet income guidelines.


    Do I have to reapply every year?

    No, once you have been accepted into the program, you are a participant until high school graduation.

    Do you need to be a high-achieving student to be involved in Upward Bound?

    Absolutely not. You could fail one or more classes, but you do need to demonstrate a sincere interest in completing a high school diploma and attending college. This means you must have a GPA between 2.50 – 4.00 and are actively trying to improve. If your GPA is below 2.5 you need to speak to Mr. Lopez to set up a plan, so you can get on track for admission into the program.

    How will I know if I have been selected to participate in Upward Bound?

    Once a student is selected, they will get an official welcome letter in the mail. Mr. Lopez will set up an appointment with the students and provide them with the UB workbook.

    Why do you need my social security number?

    The federal government requires us to collect social security numbers in order to track students through college graduation. All information collected is kept secured in our office.

    What happens if I do not meet the low-income level?

    Students are accepted into the program based on their income level and the parent's highest education. If a household does not meet the low-income level, but neither parent has a bachelor's degree, then a student can still be accepted into the program.

    Can I apply just for the summer program?

    No, you must participate in the academic year program before the summer program. Once you have been accepted into the program, you can participate until you graduate from high school.

    Does Upward Bound pay for my college?

    No. Upward Bound does not provide funds to pay for a student’s tuition, fees, books, etc. However, we do provide you with the support and experience you need to qualify and apply for scholarships and financial aid for college.