The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 21, 2024

MCPS 8th-12th graders attend 16th annual HBCU College Fair

The+event%2C+which+was+co-sponsored+by+MCPS+and+the+Montgomery+County+Chapter+of+the+National+Association+for+the+Advancement+of+Colored+People%2C+allowed+students+in+grades+8%E2%80%9312+to+meet+representatives+from+more+than+50+HBCUs.
Sonia Weliwitigoda
The event, which was co-sponsored by MCPS and the Montgomery County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, allowed students in grades 8–12 to meet representatives from more than 50 HBCUs.

On Feb. 16, The Universities at Shady Grove hosted the 16th annual Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Fair from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Rockville. The event, which was co-sponsored by MCPS and the Montgomery County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, allowed students in grades 8–12 to meet representatives from more than 50 HBCUs.

Over 2,100 students and parents registered for the free, in-person fair. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about several colleges participating in the event, including Coppin State University, Howard University, Spelman College, Montgomery College, UMBC, Bowie State University and more. Students and their parents lined up to visit the various booths of the HBCUs.

On the main level of the event, students and parents engaged in a Q&A with HBCU representatives and received pamphlets and brochures with details about admissions, average GPA, tuition costs, financial aid, average standardized testing scores, scholarships and majors. The event also featured a college preparation workshop for middle school students and their parents, with advice about college life, Federal Student Aid completion assistance, scholarship information and other related topics.

Some parents, like Winston Churchill High School parent Jaye Espy, dressed in attire featuring their HBCU alma mater as they navigated the event with their children. 

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“As an HBCU alumni myself — I’m a Howard University graduate, my parents graduated from an HBCU and so did my grandparents — it was really important for me to represent my legacy and show my son the value of attending an HBCU,” Espy said. 

The second level was filled with historically Black fraternities and sororities, where students and their parents could talk to alumni about Greek life, as well as various scholarships and student programs that high school seniors could apply for.  

Coppin State University representative and admissions counselor Jahi Chatman said that the fair gives students and parents the opportunity to explore multiple options for college.  

“It’s big name schools like flagship University of Maryland, College Park, but it’s also options like our school, where you get a high quality education at an affordable rate,” Chatman said. “Just being aware of other schools, that not only are predominately white institutions, but also HBCUs that offer the same quality opportunities for any type of student.”

Parents and students could also listen in on a panel discussion with HBCU representatives about various different topics, many of which revolved around the HBCU experience.  

Although the building was predominantly filled with high school students, there were also various middle schoolers, like Takoma Park Middle School eighth grader Keona Johnson,  exploring their options for the future.

“I learned about what colleges I can be able to go to and opportunities I will be able to have when it’s my time to be able to go to college,” Johnson said. 

Winston Churchill High School sophomore Will Espy described the sheer number of colleges that attended the event and the various bits of advice he received from each college booth. 

“I think I’ve learned that, since there are so many schools, I just have a wide variety of options that I can choose from,” Espy said. “I can really take my time so I can really choose the main one.”

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Sonia Weliwitigoda
Sonia Weliwitigoda, Multimedia/Podcast Host
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I joined the Black & White to share my voice and those of my peers. What is your favorite board game? My favorite board game of all time is Scrabble because I love it when I beat my parents every time.

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