For a group of 50 Wyoming County high school students summer doesn't necessarily mean vacation – it means studying.
“Well, I’ve always wanted to go to college,” Emily Whaley, a Perry High School junior said.
For Emily Whaley, graduating from a four-year college is something no one in her family has done before.
“I want to be a psychiatrist. I love helping people and I like being there for people when they need somebody because I’ve been in situations where I’ve had nobody to turn to,” Whaley said.
To make her dreams become a reality, she signed up for a federal grant program called "Upward Bound."
“The goal of the program is a college prep program to get the students into college to get their four-year degree and to then get back out into society and help the next generation,” Barb Sadden, director of Upward Bound said.
So for the next six weeks, 50 high school students from Attica, Letchworth, Warsaw and Perry Central School Districts will hit the books on the Genesee Community College campus.
“Some kids have to ride an hour and a half on the bus to get here. That's just one way! They are three hours on a bus to give up their summer to take academic classes. That is a true commitment. These kids are absolutely wonderful,” Sadden said.
All the students involved come from either low-income families or households where neither parent has a four-year degree.
“My parents are really proud of me for doing this. They both work 40-plus hours a week and they do everything for you and this is just a lift off their shoulders," Whaley said.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the students study math, science, English, literature, and composition.
"With my grades, they have helped a lot like, they have the tutors there to help you if you’re not doing so good in the class and when you come you just feel accepted like your actually a part of it,” Jacob Mess, a Perry High School sophomore said.
For the past 11 years, Upward Bound has provided the students with the confidence they need to succeed.
"It's not like normal school because you’re not just sitting in a classroom and teachers are not just throwing information at you and you're not bored out of your mind,” Whaley said.