For the Schrauth family of Fond du Lac, going to college has become a family activity. Mom Lynn is enrolled in the Instructional Assistant program at Moraine Park Technical College, while teen twins Kyle and Tara, 16, are enrolled in the Upward Bound college-prep program offered by Moraine Park.
After raising her kids for 13 years then entering the workforce in retail and factory positions, Lynn found herself permanently laid off from her job as a quality inspector.
“With limited skills, my prospects weren’t looking good,” she said. “I felt I needed to change professions.”
Career tests taken at Moraine Park and the local Job Center showed Lynn that her interests leaned toward helping others. Weighing career choices, job requirements and colleges, Lynn went with Moraine Park for its location, affordability and Instructional Assistant associate of applied science degree program.
“My goal is to hopefully work in the Fond du Lac school district as an instructional assistant at the grade school level, or maybe I'll go even further and pursue my bachelor’s as an elementary school teacher working preferably with the kindergarten level,” said Lynn.
As juniors at Fond du Lac High School this fall, Kyle and Tara have careers of their own in mind – architect and veterinarian, respectively. Their involvement in Upward Bound is getting them ready for higher education. A federal TRIO program of the U.S. Department of Education, Upward Bound is provided free by Moraine Park to Fond du Lac, Ripon and Beaver Dam high schools. This pre-college program prepares first-generation college-bound students for the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree after high school. Participants work on study skills, time management, scholarship searches and college selection during the school year. The six-week Summer Session at Moraine Park includes college-prep high school classes taught by high school instructors, with the last week spent at Marian University.
“I have been planning to go to college to become a vet,” said Tara, who has been enrolled in Upward Bound since summer 2008, with Kyle following in 2009 after seeing what the program was doing for his sister. “Joyce [Atkins, the Upward Bound director] has been helping me with picking a school and planning my classes, and now I am going to be in School to Work and I will work at a vet clinic.”
While the Summer Session affects the amount of time available to spend with family and friends, Tara said, “I love the program. It not only helps me get ready for college, but also has taken me to go see new places and meet new people.”
Their grades have been another beneficiary of Upward Bound’s impact. Kyle’s have risen since he began attending, and Tara also maintains an A average.
“I think the program is a great opportunity,” said Kyle.
Their mother said Upward Bound has been helping Tara and Kyle get used to the demands that college life brings and how difficult the classes can be. “I especially like that they get to visit other colleges to see what they are like because this gives them advantages over their peers. I think dorm week [at Marian University] is so beneficial to them because they get to see what it would be like if they choose to go to a college away from home. I am so happy they are in this program.”
Likewise, the teens are proud of their mom for going to college. Just as Lynn and her husband Patrick supported their children’s decision to enroll in Upward Bound, Lynn said Tara and Kyle were “a big part” of her return to school. “They keep me going by all their encouragement. They will ask me if I'm doing homework when I'm on the computer because they know I've become addicted to Facebook and also because they like being able to bug me about homework like I get to do to them,” she said with a smile.
“I think that it is a good idea that she is in school so she can further her education to make it possible for her to work at job that she likes,” said Tara.
Kyle agreed, then quipped, “She needs something better to do than Facebook all day.”
Math is a shared subject among the three. Lynn and Kyle actually shared an instructor, Scott Bengel of Fond du Lac High School, during the spring semester, which Lynn considered pretty neat while Kyle found it weird.
“I wasn't sure what that would be like and was a little apprehensive, but it turned out to be great,” said Lynn. “I could get the inside scoop as to where Kyle was at in math and Mr. Bengel could encourage Kyle by saying that he was letting his mom show him up.”
When applicable, homework support is also shared. “We mostly help her with math,” said Tara. “She is in algebra right now and we have already had it so we know how to do it. My mom and sometimes Kyle will help me with my homework. They help me with things that I don’t understand or if I need things read to me or spelled because I am dyslexic.”
"The Schrauth family is a great example of the mission of Upward Bound,” said Atkins. “Education opens doors to increased opportunities. They understand this and demonstrate that the power of Upward Bound reaches across generations."
For more information about Upward Bound at Moraine Park, call Atkins at 920-924-6381 or Bethany Lombardo at 920-948-8752.