District 211 joined more than 100 area students at Harper College for an event that aims to inspire local African-American high school students to pursue higher education and ensure they're ready for it.
Harper College's Black Teen Symposium, which ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 27, in the Wojcik Conference Center on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, was timed to coincide with Black History Month. The symposium addressed growing concerns of academic achievement, college readiness, and future careers, as well as provided information about career programs, college admissions, and financial aid.
"This was the first event like this for African Americans through my school and I was looking forward to it," said Haley Madison, junior at Palatine High School. "The presenters answered a lot of questions I've had about college, and I think I am going to be fine in college."
Students heard a message from Allen J. Bryson, a Chicago-based author, artist, motivational speaker and education specialist, as well as from speakers Tamara McClain, Multicultural Recruiting manager at Harper College, Dr. Shante' Bishop, associate professor at Harper College, Kendria Harris (K-Love), National Spoken-Word artist and youth motivational speaker, Asa Gordon, history teacher at Palatine High School, LaVonya Williams, associate professor, and Shamika Donald, Harper College student.
Students from Elk Grove, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, and Rolling Meadows high schools were also in attendance. Each school from District 211 brought a group to the event, which included 26 students from Fremd High School, three from Palatine High School, 18 from Conant High School, 18 from Hoffman Estates High School, and nine students from Schaumburg High School.
McClain said the annual symposium is designed to create a new generation of college-bound teenagers amid U.S. Department of Education data that suggests African-American teens are less likely than their peers to graduate from high school.
"This symposium allows African-American students in our community to see people who look like them succeeding here on campus," McClain said. "We want them to pursue higher education, and this is exactly the type of event that could help them make the commitment."
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