• Rashawn Powell GBDF Youth Advisor

Higher Learning

We live in a country that is striving to have all students graduate from high school ready for college, but the harsh reality is that we are far from reaching that goal. The problem comes from the economic factors that play a role in the education of our youth.

For the youth of Northampton County High School East, the Gregory B. Davis Foundation (GBDF) is helping them to realize that college is a very real option for them. Starting the discussion of higher educational opportunities can provide an important step in preparing students for college. For the students to understand that college is the gateway of opportunity in life, they will be the change in their willingness to put forth the hard work that is required to achieve their goals.

The opportunities that a college education provides can be talked about with students, by showing them just what going to college is all about and what a college education can do for someone's life. This may sound very elementary, but students understanding that the doctor that they see went to a college because before he or she is able to give them a checkup or tell them what they are sick from, they have to become an expert in their fields. Helping others is why their doctors are who they are and it’s their passion, so helping students find a passion can also help stark the talk about their future in the college of their choice.

The Foundation doesn’t only start the discussion about college, but they give students the opportunity to step foot on a college campus. The students have visited UNC-CH and NCCU and both of these higher learning institutes can be meaningful because you have UNC-CH as a prominent school in medicine, and you also have NCCU that is one of the greatest HBCUs (well, that my opinion.) Getting the students on both of these campuses is special for them to see other people that look like them putting forth the effort to have a better life…which will give them that push to work harder to have a better life for themselves.

Seeing students in a higher learning environment like them can also show that college is accessible for someone like them. Coming from Northampton County, college is something that not everyone has the opportunity to experience. I know for me personally, seeing a young black man getting a higher education gives me that boost to make sure that I’m doing what I need to do to be a success at whatever I put my mind to.

The Gregory B. Davis Foundation is helping students understand that their zip code does not define how far they can go in life, reaching for the sky and the stars is not good enough. There are galaxies out there that we have not yet discovered, so why stop in the milky way. Having an organization headed by educated black people gives the idea that as young black men and women we are better than the stereotypes that our people face every day. Exposing students to college and giving them a perfect image of where they can be will eventually, close the achievement gap that this country is facing. As a senior in high school, visiting colleges before senior year has helped me get the idea that my people are much greater than a thug on the street, drug dealer, high school dropout and the list could go on.

Seeing a group of people like me getting a higher education lets me know that graduating high school on June 10, 2017 is not enough to make me a success, because “success is a journey, not a destination.”

For more information about GBDF, visit www.gbdf.org.


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