“If you know from whence you came, there is no limit to where you can go.” – James Baldwin
The Black History Club College Tour is more than just a group of students learning about the possibilities of a higher education. It is about understanding that the world has so much to offer. It is about stretching one’s mind to recognize that he or she can achieve so much more beyond the walls of North Central. Thanks to the leadership of Carla Sanford, club sponsor and North Central teacher, and a grant from the Advancement Center, the college tour has become a growing, annually resource for North Central minority students. Each spring, the tour takes off to explore some of most historic colleges in the country, with plenty of time for a few pauses at some of the country’s most notable landmarks.
More than just an informational tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the trip offers a chance for students to understand their potential and plan ahead for their future. It exposes them to the rich African-American culture and history throughout the country, and allows them a chance to interact with other peers who are taking their own positive steps to a brighter tomorrow.
While the goal of the College Tour is a broader desire of improving the self-images of North Central students, the residual benefit has, literally, altered the futures of many North Central students. Some on past tours never thought of leaving Indianapolis, or even dreamed of attending college. ‘College students aren’t like me.’ One stop on the tour changes that, and paints a more realistic and comfortable picture of what college can be. The tour has inspired dozens of students each year to apply to HBCU institutions. Many have applied on the spot. Some have left those visits with acceptance letters and financial aid packages, like…
Kennedy Hobson ’16 – Currently enrolled at Clark Atlanta University as a freshman in African American Studies. A member of the Black History Club at North Central, she had applied to the school of 3,500 before she stepped on the bus her senior year. When she arrived, however, her future home was waiting for her. Given an on-the-spot interview to join the Honors College, Hobson knew it was the right place for her. That interview gave her a preferential residence, priority in internships and research, and additional supports. Today, she’s traded the red and black of North Central for the same colors in Atlanta, and she’s still a Panther! It was, indeed, a perfect fit.
Fiona Armoo ’16 – An honor student from Ghana, she was moved to tears while visiting the colleges and historical sites last spring. A visit to the Civil Rights Museum, Dr. King Memorial and Tuskegee (Moton Field and university), she wept because not only was she standing where history was made, but she said that it put her in mind of the similar civil rights and injustices that have taken place in her native Ghana. She created a presentation to club members that explained the connections and shared history and human experiences we have between Ghana and the USA. Fiona, not only learned about American history, she was exposed to a variety of college settings, one of which offered her a scholarship.
Antonio Cheshier ’17 – A high honor roll student, who has maintained a job to support his family, the affordable price has permitted him to travel to over 12 schools and many historical sites. He plans to enroll in a Biomedical/ Biochemical engineering program and is being considered by several of the prominent HBCUs. During each tour, Antonio, unabashed, asked many questions of the admissions staff and that helped guide his chosen field and prepare for his junior and senior by wisely choosing what rigorous academic courses to take, relevant extracurricular activities. It also pushed him to take on the initiative as a leader of the STEM club.