Albemarle County hosts expo for students to learn about HBCUs
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- On Monday, Albemarle County hosted historically black colleges and universities at a college-readiness expo and planning workshop for high school students.
Roughly 10 historically black colleges and universities were represented, reaching more than 100 students from Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, and even Louisa County who are interested in going to college.
"It's very important for young people to be able to see what they can become,” said Dr. Jesse Turner, the director of student services for Albemarle County Public Schools.
Albemarle County had HBCUs come together to offer advice about applying to college.
Some students shared their biggest takeaways from this expo opportunity.
"It really gives me a nice insight to see of what they see in a potential student, and what I can do to further myself,” an 11-grade student at Albemarle High School, Jayla Thompson said.
"Being able to get the information and stuff like that, I think that's really what I'm looking forward to,” a 10-grade student at Louisa County High School, Darlene Gasore said.
During this one-day event, students were able to hear from representatives and alumni on the importance of HBCUs.
"I still feel a commitment to exposing the young students of color in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and surrounding areas to all that HBCUs can offer them,” said K. Diane Price, a representative for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at Howard University.
"And I think for me, it's just really broadening awareness of what amazing things black people can do in this country, and anywhere really. And so, at the end of the day, my goal is to just see black people succeed and if I can do that in any way, I'm going to, and participate in these events. So, I'm excited to see these kids. I'm just rooting for them all the way to the top,” said Alexia Orr, the executive vice president for Black Business Students Associations at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Black students felt empowered to see the schools and to realize how many there are nearby.
"I think it's definitely important to see Black individuals be in positions of power and seeing that makes me feel like I can do things in the future,” said Chrishanna Johnson, an 11-grade student at Monticello High School.
Although this event is mainly focused on juniors and seniors, Turner says that he wants all grades to attend.
"I did not make this event only for 11th or 12th graders. If the representative from our schools or neighboring high schools had any child that they believed could benefit, then I wanted them here. Because all it takes is one word, one conversation, to change a child's life,” he said.
Dontae Woodfolk, a graduate of Virginia State University and an Albemarle County recreation assistant, says that this is exactly what happened to him. After talking to a high school mentor, he changed his life around and went to college. And now, he wants to help others do the same.
"I wasn't really a school person and I wasn't really studious at all, so she kind of reversed my whole mindset to, you know, kind of believe that I have a purpose,” he said.
This outreach program allows students to access various avenues that they have for seeking higher education and see that they're not alone.