The University of Texas-Pan American hosted the South Texas Upward Bound Bowl last weekend where 400 high school kids participated in mathematics, spelling, poetry, ready writing, persuasive speaking, artistic expression and sports.
The bowl - hosted at UT Pan American every five years - is held to help low income families and families where neither parent holds a bachelor degree. The program is intended to increase enrollment of students in post-secondary institutions. UTPA, Texas A&M Kingsville, Texas A&M Corpus, Coastal Bend College and Laredo Community College all rotate in hosting the UB Bowl on their campuses.
"It's only held at UTPA every five years," said Terry Rodriguez, secretary for Upward Bound. "It's to get our students motivated trying out their academic and athletic skills and for them to get together with other schools."
The bowl is sponsored by UTPA Upward Bound - a federally funded program that works with high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to encourage their competition not only from high school, but also from a post secondary institution.
Students from six Rio Grande Valley high schools including, Edcouch Elsa, Hidalgo, Valley View, Mission, Johnny J. Ecoomedes and Edinburg North, participate in academic and athletic competition. "I spelled hippopotamus with an A after the M," said Laiza Cantu, sophomore at Edinburg North High School. "I love this competition. They give you a hundred words and then they give you another thirty. I got out on hippopotamus."
The UB Bowl provided students with an opportunity to tour the campus and show off their talent. "I sang "My Valentine" by Martina McBride," said Whitney Miller, senior from Odem High School competing in the artistic expression competition. "I was nervous, but I had fun."