July 6, 2021 |
Alpha Kappa sisters and leaders Alpha Sorority Inc. in their respective fields, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Dr. Glenda Glover have structured a groundbreaking partnership that will open the doors of higher education to students in Miami-Dade counties , Broward and Duval in Florida. . Glover, president of Tennessee State University (TSU), awarded full scholarships to twelve students of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence project, a dropout prevention and mentoring program for boys and young men of color founded by Wilson in 1993.
This higher education pipeline from Florida to Nashville is nothing new, but it is reinvigorated and strengthened by this new effort. Wilson herself went to Nashville to attend Fisk University after graduating from Miami Northwestern High School. TSU continues to show that higher education institutions can be hubs to provide pathways to post-secondary education, connect students to emerging economic opportunities, and inspire them to achieve their goal. The university is rapidly asserting itself not only as a foundational institution for students in the state of Tennessee, but also as a national university destination, as it has in recent years for those who wish to acquire the training. to maximize their potential.
This new partnership also continues to expand the 5000 Role Models of Excellence project’s mission to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by creating new avenues of opportunity through higher education. This group of 5,000 model students includes Miami Northwestern High School Major George Pickens IV, who chose TSU over Miami University, Howard University, Duke University, and Harvard University, among others. Pickens will be part of a new initiative that targets future black male doctors in a joint deal with Meharry Medical College.
Pickens reflected on his decision to go to TSU saying, âI didn’t choose TSU, instead TSU chose me. When I made my college decision, I consulted with mentors, family, friends, and of course I prayed about it. At first it seemed like the signs were small and I often forgot about them, but over time it became clear that TSU was the best fit for me. I am delighted to continue my studies at a school which is synonymous with service and excellence and which is deeply rooted in history.
Another member of the group, Rodga Laurius of Miami Edison Senior High School, grew up in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood and relishes the opportunity to step into a new environment with the opportunity to pursue higher education. Laurius got a call in April about whether to go to TSU and was shocked. He said he was âthrilled and excited to have this life changing opportunity. I am fortunate to go to school out of state, meet new people and have new experiences.
The continuation and extension of infrastructure of opportunity such as the 5000 Role Models of Excellence project is an important step towards reducing the number of disconnected young people. Disconnected young people are people between the ages of 18 and 24 who neither work nor attend school. An overabundance of this disconnected population translates into a huge waste of potential. This underutilized talent is wasted in large part because students do not receive enough guidance and affirmation to lead it to its full development.
An increased level of intentionality is needed to ensure that support for young people does not end after leaving high school. Strong transfers from one support system to another must take place to prevent students from falling through the cracks. An institutional support system does not have to completely replace another, but can build on and complement the previous one. The position of the support systems for these students may change with TSU in this example becoming the main one, but the 5000 Role Models of Excellence project is set up to continue to be active and have an impact in the lives of the students who enroll. at TSU.
The explosion of virtual meeting spaces like Zoom and Microsoft Teams enables seamless connectivity even if groups of people are not in the same physical location. Cohorts like this group of students heading to TSU can connect with other cohorts who can engage in similar processes in other parts of the country. As higher education institutions prepare to return to a predominantly in-person learning environment, elements of the virtual educational experience that has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic can be continued to create an even more school curriculum. more robust.
These types of institutional partnerships can help turn needed shifts into larger avenues of progress that may have previously been blocked by external or internal barriers. TSU President Dr Glenda Glover and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson have done a lot for these students, and this is a great example for other institutions and organizations to follow.
Dr Marcus Bright is an academic and educational administrator.