by Brionna Johnson
Following President Joe Biden’s proclamation declaring September 5th through 11th National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, several Georgia College Advising Corps (GCAC) advisers sprang into action and quickly prepared for celebrations at their school sites. The events were particularly robust in Rockdale County Schools, where GCAC Advisers worked closely with school staff to commemorate the week and expose students to a variety of historically Black institutions in an effort to enrich their college-going culture.
At Heritage High School, second-year adviser Jordan Harless collaborated with college admissions representatives from Albany State University, Paine College, and Clark Atlanta University to arrange visits to her school building. With Ms. Harless’ support, the representatives offered services ranging from application support to on-the-spot admissions reviews, and even institutional scholarship offers. Students at Heritage also were given daily trivia questions pertaining to HBCUs in Georgia via the morning announcements and were awarded with college t-shirts for answering correctly.
On top of celebrating the impact of HBCUs, Ms. Harless believes that these events helped her students feel excited and hopeful for their post-secondary plans. “It is vital that students know that HBCUs are colleges with rich histories that cultivate culture and diversity for Black students,” Ms. Harless said, “Our students were so encouraged and grateful for this opportunity, and it was so inspiring to me as their college adviser to see them through this week.”
Across town at Rockdale County High School, first-year adviser Raiven Harris collaborated with representatives from Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta, and Paine College to acknowledge the value and influence of HBCUs in Georgia. Throughout the week, students and teachers decorated classroom doors and hallways with college logos, colors, and various institutional fun facts. Faculty and staff who graduated from HBCUs themselves submitted videos describing their various alma maters and National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, sharing information both in person and via Ms. Harris’ social media page. “HBCUs often don’t get much attention. I knew very little about them when I was applying to college, so I want to make sure my students are all well informed,” said Ms. Harris, “I want the process of exploring and applying to colleges to be exciting for students, not nerve-wracking or confusing. Events like HBCU week help build that excitement.”