- Allyson Brown Staff Writer
Springfield High School students were exposed to a one-of-a-kind college fair this week.
Twelve Historically Black Colleges and Universities were present at the first HBCU Day, including Norfolk State, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Fisk, Spelman, Howard, Central State and Wilberforce universities. These schools were created to serve the African-American community but have since grown to be inclusive of everyone
The goal at the event was to bridge the gap between students and the schools, said Patrick Smith, Springfield High principal.
“There’s a lot of life after high school and a lot of the world outside of Springfield and we are trying to create college- and career-ready citizens,” Smith said. “So that when high school is over, they can pursue whatever endeavors are in their best interest and skill set.”
Students were able to get hands-on training and see results in real-time, like some who were accepted to a university on the spot and others who received financial aid, like senior Edison Wright. He was accepted to Central State earlier this year.
“Recently I got a scholarship for the band there,” he said. “I tried to see if I could get a little bit more money and I did, which is actually $2,000 more.”
He chose the school for its band and class sizes.
Senior William Finch said he was happy HBCU Day was made available and that it opens a lot of doors for students.
“Being a African-American male, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to learn a little bit more about my culture,” he said.
Susan McLaughlin is coordinator of career and college readiness for the school district. The college fair also exposed students to everything the schools had to offer from marching bands to choirs to Greek life.
“The Divine Nine are historically black fraternities and sororities and we brought representatives from all Divine Nine here,” McLaughlin said. “We wanted to show how their sisterhood and brotherhood worked.”
College is a scary for some kids, she said. If these students find a group of people to support them through college, McLaughlin said it will make the transition easier.