FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington Upward Bound program has announced that Travis (Lam) Works, UB alumnus from Skowhegan Area High School, is the 2018 recipient of the Maine Educational Opportunity Association’s Achiever Award.

The award recognizes distinguished graduates of Maine TRIO programs who have made significant community or professional contributions. Works participated in the UMF Upward Bound program from 1993 to 1996. He received his bachelor’s degree in American studies from Skidmore College in 2000. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Maine in 2011.

After several teaching and administrative positions, Works returned to his hometown to serve as executive director/principal of the Cornville Regional Charter School, Maine’s first public charter school. Recently expanded to include another building, the organization serves more than 200 students, the majority of whom are from low-income families. There is kite building, robotics, boat building, grandparent luncheons and drumming, alongside rigorous academics.

In his own words, Works reflected on the role Upward Bound played in his life. “As a teenager, Upward Bound provided me some phenomenal opportunities that only my wealthy peers could afford. These experiences, such as analyzing a Shakespeare production, kayaking, snowshoeing, sailing, hiking, and navigating New York City, were more than just highly engaging, they were life-altering. Upward Bound combined those experiences with academics, study skills, note-taking skills, college preparation and life skills. Together, those cultivated the programming I have built into an innovative school model. I can truly attest that it was my experience over the course of four years at Upward Bound that provided me with a foundation that has shaped who I am today. It was those opportunities and relationships that allowed me to develop my core beliefs about education and the need to impact learners in rural Maine. It was the time in my life that I could begin to understand who I was as a person and what was truly important to me. As a result, I have had many successes over the years and now I am building and leading an innovative school that will impact the entire Central Maine area and has the potential to positively influence the educational landscape on a much larger scale.”

Award winner Travis Works is pictured with with Lynn Ploof-Davis, director of TRIO programs at University of Maine Farmington.

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