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For many high school seniors, getting into college is their top priority.
But it can be overwhelming. Everything from meeting the deadlines of applications to choosing which college or university is the best fit.
That’s why the Hillsborough Alliance of Black School Educators (HABSE) partnered with the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) to bring 150 high school seniors together from across Hillsborough County.
The vision for the 43rd annual ASHE conference was to engage high school seniors and give them the tools they need to succeed after they graduate.
“ASHE is actually a group of scholars committed to studying the entity of higher learning,” said Dr. Lori Patton Davis, President of Association for the Study of Higher Education. “So, whether that is student experiences or how institutions are governed, everyone here studies the field of higher education.”
Students from King High School, Tampa Bay Technical High School, Blake High School, Middleton High School and Spoto High School participated in a series of workshops.
Deans and professors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) attended the conference, which was hosted at the Marriott Waterside in Downtown Tampa.
Students were able to chat with leaders from HBCU’s and learn about the history of the schools along with the requirements needed to be accepted.
“We wanted to make sure students knew about historically black colleges and just attending college,” said Dr. Devona Foster Pierre, Chair of ASHE and the HBCU committee. “We wanted to bring in individuals from different HBCU’s, so they had the opportunity to talk with them about admissions and financial aid.”
ASHE’s theme this year was called “Envisioning the Woke Academy.”
Dr. Pierre explains the theme was created to help students open their eyes to all the opportunities HBCU’s have to offer.
“It’s important to get a group of high schoolers together so they know they have options and they’re not limited,” said Dr. Pierre. “I believe when they are able to see that they have a multitude of options, then they can make a decision on which college or university they would like to attend.”
“I do not think that educating students rest solely on the hands of the school district,” said Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools for Hillsborough County. “I do believe we play a valuable role, but this is a prime example of a village wrapping their arms around our children and give them learning experiences outside the walls of a traditional school setting.”
Students also spent time doing break out group activities where volunteers taught them about first-year student experiences such as meeting news friends and joining programs.
Vice Chair of the Hillsborough County Schools, Tamara Shamburger, was excited these students were able to attend the conference and have it be a one stop shop for information on potential colleges and universities they liked.
“To be able to come to an awesome forum like this and get all the information on what an HBCU is, their history and why their important is an absolute phenomenal experience,” said Shamburger.
12th grader Devin Johnson was blown away with the resources that were available to him and he loved learning about the history of HBCU.
“It definitely opened my eyes with what HBCU’s can offer and showed me what they stand for,” says Johnson. “It shows that they care about my education and they want to see black men be better in life and have high ranking positions.”
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