Against the magical backdrop of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, 30 high school seniors from Atlanta Public Schools moved closer to realizing their dream of attaining a college education by participating in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week annual fair on October 7.
This new initiative to facilitate student participation in HBCU Week was born out of the partnership between APS and the Propel Center – a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub founded by APS partner Ed Farm, in collaboration with Apple and Southern Company, to serve HBCUs and high school students. At HBCU Week, which was held at Disney World for the first time, the APS scholars had the opportunity to interact with over 50 recruiters while getting a glimpse of the atmosphere and school spirit of HBCUs. The event facilitated on-the-spot college admissions and scholarships and proved to be a singular, memorable experience for the participants.
“Attending the HBCU Week college fair was magical, informative, and inspiring. I was so grateful for this opportunity because it will be something that I will never forget . . .I know will be fruitful for my future,” stated APS scholar Somalia Gilliard, who proudly revealed that she was accepted by four colleges at the event.
Chloe Evans, another APS scholar, described attending HBCU Week as “phenomenal” and an unforgettable experience. She added that she was able to learn many new and interesting things about HBCUs and develop a deeper appreciation for the values of HBCU community and culture, such as camaraderie and peer support.
“I have a different outlook on HBCUs. It is now my preference to attend one. I have regained my joy and genuine love for school and learning. I think attending an HBCU will foster my creativity and improve my friendliness, professionalism and overall outlook on life,” Chloe stated.
APS Superintendent, Dr. Lisa Herring, who has leveraged her longstanding relationship with Ed Farm/Propel Center to help create exciting new partnership opportunities in the district, expressed her elation at the excellent opportunity afforded to the APS scholars to further their education.
“I am so happy that we were able to expose our scholars to a lifechanging event like the HBCU Week college fair, through our strategic partnership with Ed Farm’s Propel Center. It’s a highly impactful component of the important work we do to prepare our scholars for college and ultimately position them for success in their careers and lives,” she stated.
Dr. Cortney Harris, Chief Impact Officer at the Propel Center, shared similar sentiments on the value of collaborating with APS to immerse scholars in the unique HBCU experience and place them on the path to achieving great things.
“We are lucky to partner with APS as a school system that similarly embraces innovative school models and approaches to learning in service of the deeply talented students in our local community,” she stated
HBCU Week, which was created by the HBCU Week Foundation in 2017 and attracts thousands of scholars from the Southeastern United States and beyond, enjoyed its largest ever staging this year. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of HBCUs, encourage high school youth enrollment, provide scholarships and maintain a robust employment pipeline that delivers future leaders, creative thinkers and innovators to corporate America.
APS remains committed to strengthening its relationship with the Propel Center and looks forward to APS scholars participating in the HBCU Week college fair in greater numbers next year.