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2011 SVUB California Trip photo

College Access Challenge Grant

Expanding Students’ Understanding of What’s Possible


By Donna Emert


COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – Twelve North Idaho, low-income, high-achieving students will go shopping for colleges in California this summer, thanks to a College Access Challenge Grant of $15,252.

Marcee  Hartzell, director of the Silver Valley Upward Bound program through the University of Idaho College of Education, applied for and recently received the grant funding.


The CACG grant program was designed to foster partnerships among federal, state and local government entities and philanthropic organizations to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who enter and remain in postsecondary education.

Upward Bound is federally mandated to serve underrepresented populations of high school students from low-income families, and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.


The grant could significantly expand the horizons of participating Silver Valley UB students. Hartzell hopes it will help them redefine what’s possible.


“I believe this trip is a good investment because it helps us develop our human capital and knowledge of the college world, a world that for many of us is so foreign,” said Michael Davis, Wallace High School Junior and UB participant. “Through the Silver Valley UB program, I can see myself now in college, and have decided to attend college to broaden my future opportunities.”


“The UB program, and specifically the trip to California, is designed to expose the students to a variety of college campuses: big, small, urban, private and public, and to expose students to new cultural and educational opportunities,” said Hartzell. 


“The theme to our program this summer is the Right to Education. The students’ coursework will focus on education and whether or not it is available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. They will be exploring educational systems around the world and looking at how poverty, gender, class and color influence educational opportunities,” Hartzell explained.


Visiting a big city will allow students to experience first-hand the differences in the educational systems in urban and rural areas. Silver Valley UB student participants also will meet UB participants from University of California Berkeley and University of San Francisco to explore and discuss the differences between urban and rural poverty.


“Students will learn about each other’s lives, discuss obstacles to education and how to succeed, and will share their experiences,” said Hartzell.


All 12 Silver Valley students have proven academic success: The average grade point average of the group is 3.5. They will tour the campuses of San Francisco State University, University of San Francisco, Stanford University and University of California Berkley. 

It will be the first airplane flight for many of the Idaho students.


Students will touch down in San Francisco July 2 and return to Spokane, Wash., July 8. Their agenda is packed with cultural education opportunities as well as collegiate stops, including: a tour of San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf, self-guided tours of little Italy and Chinatown, and stops at the Golden Gate Bridge, the Exploratorium, the Museum of Modern Art, the botanical and Japanese gardens at Golden Gate Park, and the Aquarium of the Bay.


“Picturing myself in college helps me to more easily reach my goals,” said Nathanael Galford, a junior at Kellogg High School. “It would also allow me to be more independent, meet more people and explore new places. I would think that it would allow me to challenge myself more. And it helps s me learn socially how to work with friends at different levels in life.”


Participating students will be accompanied by Hartzell and three other adult supervisors.


“The trip will provide these students with broader and clearer notions of what’s possible, and greater ability to define their own college choice,” said Hartzell. “We’re grateful to the granting agency and to the Idaho State Board of Education for allowing our students this wonderful opportunity.”

Pictured Above
L-R: Tyler Williams, Taylor Browning, Ramiro Mora (SVUB Mentor), Jon Evans, Nathanael Galford, Amanda Hess, Michael Davis, Samantha Lish, Alex Galford, Warren Jones (SVUB Coordinator), Julie Mace, and Jessica Williams. Not pictured: Mary Jo Longley, Nick Davis, Ali Bretthauer (SVUB Specialist), and Marcee Hartzell (SVUB Director)