College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors

College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 2
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 3
College Tour Inspires Juniors and Seniors photo 4
Continuing a 10-year tradition at Amityville Memorial High School, social worker Reynolds Hawkins took 33 juniors and seniors on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities tour. The students visited six schools from Sept. 9-13.

The schools included Winston Salem University State University, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware State University and Duke University. Students went on tours, met with admissions officers and experienced campus life.

“It was really informative,” said senior Rachelle Louis Jean. “I asked a lot of questions because I could see myself at some of the schools.”

Rachelle said she asked questions about biology, health science, engineering and broadcasting programs, volunteer and internship opportunities, and the success of graduates. She added that it was a great experience to talk with students who attend the colleges.

Kayla Barrett said had previously only visited colleges in New York, and now plans to apply to at least three of the schools from the HBCU tour. 

The students learned that Historically Black Colleges and Universities actually have very diverse student populations. Junior Trey Fulton noted the connection the schools have with their surrounding communities, as well as strong alumni support and rigorous admissions standards. He said one of the biggest appeals was the high-level of energy at the universities.

Senior Joel Barrett said he particularly appreciated the history lessons that were incorporated into the trip. The students went to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., and learned about four North Carolina A&T students who were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement by leading a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter. 

“I just learned so much that I never knew before,” Rachelle added. “I was in a town in which so much history happened.”

Students were required to dress up for the college tours, as Trey noted their mentality was, “This isn’t a vacation, this is a business trip.”

Mr. Hawkins said that 93 percent of students who have attended the trips over the last decade have gone on to college, with many choosing an HBCU. Students were able to meet several Amityville graduates attending schools during this year’s tour. 

Joel was one of the students who went on the tour during both his junior and senior years, and Trey hopes to go again next year. Mr. Hawkins selects different colleges each year, and has taken students as far south as Florida. Not all colleges, like Duke, are HBCUs, but are incorporated into the trip to show students other notable universities while traveling through the southern part of the country.

“The students who have the opportunity to go on this tour twice will never see the same schools,” he said. 

Senior James Carey said that he appreciated the opportunity to see several schools in a few days, as opposed to over several months, because it made it easier to compare schools. He plans to major in biology and said he will likely apply to three of the colleges.

“It was one of the most beneficial experiences of my high school career,” James said. “It was so much more than I expected, and that’s what I loved about it.”