Doing it for the culture: Developing the HBCU pipeline
What started as a simple conversation in the hallway became the foundation to enlighten the students of Cedar Shoals to another post-secondary pathway: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
College Advisor Azariah Partridge capitalized on her dialogue with Dr. Utevia Tolbert by initiating her plan to create a new learning experience for students.
“We had the idea of bringing the Divine Nine, which are black sororities and fraternities, into our building to perform for our students, because some of our students aren’t aware of what HBCU colleges are or what black fraternities and sororities are,” Partridge said.
Partridge communicated through a lengthy process with outside colleges, staff and administrators. Support from the counseling department also helped bring the week’s events to life.
“They (the counselors) are always behind me 100%. A lot of behind the scenes, partnering with everybody in our school and doing outreach to colleges and the Divine Nine to see what days worked out best for colleges to come in,” Partridge said.
Primarily for many African-American students, the opportunity to attend an HBCU is one of enlightenment and compassionate brotherhood or sisterhood. HBCU week exposes students to HBCUs while gauging their interest in these institutions.
“Many of our students don’t know what an HBCU is, and I think that a really important thing is to let our students know this is another option if you’re planning to go to college,” Partridge said.
This course of events was filled with numerous learning opportunities and fun activities throughout the week such as My HBCU Teacher/Staff Day, Sneaker Day, HBCU Quiz Day, HBCU Bingo, and the final day of the week, HBCU day. Partridge’s goal is to increase the awareness and interest in HBCUs as an opportunity for the students.
“I hope they have fun with it because I have so many different days planned. It’s engaging for the staff and students. There are so many chances to win prizes. I think the biggest thing is to spread the exposure and the various opportunities that HBCUs have to offer and with many of them being able to be on our campus this week, just to have our students say, ‘Hey, I didn’t know that Fort Valley State University was an HBCU,” Partridge said.