This year marks the PUSH for Excellence 12th Annual HBCU Tour. March 27th through April 3rd, one hundred-twenty promising high school students will leave the city of Chicago and spend their spring break traveling across the country visiting more than a dozen historically black colleges and universities. Participating students will get a sense of what college life is like and where they will feel most comfortable as students. They will also have the opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites and interact with the students on campus.
“Our passion is to create opportunities for these young people,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., founder and president of Rainbow Push Coalition. “We nurture their minds into seeing that there is a world outside of their hometowns.” Most of the students are Chicagoland residents but some come from as far as Los Angeles, California.
The tour will make the following stops:
Florida A&M University
Clark Atlanta University
The King Center, Atlanta, Georgia
The National Civil Rights Museum, Nashville, Memphis, Tennessee
South Carolina State University
Winston-Salem State University
North Carolina A&T State University
Morgan State University
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
The Underground Railroad Museum
Over the past eleven years, the annual tour has provided hundreds of area high school students an opportunity to visit and experience over 100 traditionally black colleges and universities throughout the country.
PUSH for Excellence is committed to exposing underserved young people to the world and opportunities that exist outside their communities. This event is part of a major effort to promote increased minority college attendance through early exposure and preparation.
“The purpose of this tour is to expose our children to great institutions that offer a nurturing, protective and productive environment,” said Dr. Bonita Carr, Executive Director of PUSH for Excellence. “Exposure is the key to making informed, intelligent and meaningful decisions. Students who are accepted on the tour attend a wide variety of workshops.”
While on the tour, students will participate in many workshops focusing on leadership, personal development and academics with the emphasis on college preparation.
“I really enjoyed myself last year,” said Anthony Land, a junior at Rich Central High School who attended the tour last year. “I am participating again this year because I am still undecided about where I want to go to school. I hope to gain more knowledge about some of the other schools and make a few more friends.”
According to Gloria Ladson-Billings, author of The Dream Keepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, African American students are:
Three times as likely to drop out of school as white children
Twice as likely to be suspended from school
Make up only 17% of the public school population but 41% of the special-education population.
Ladson-Billings adds that African American students attending historically black colleges and universities have significantly higher graduation rates than those attending predominately white institutions.
The ability of the graduates to function successfully both in the workplace and at predominately white graduate and professional schools is not compromised by having attended African American undergraduate schools.
The tour gives students a look at a range of institutions that they might never have considered attending without this opportunity to visit.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366