Spring break means college tours for students

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City-College_Tour.jpgStudents loaded buses at Apostolic Church of God Saturday, March 23, 2013, for a weeklong spring break college tour in the South. Defender/Rhonda Gillespie

There will be no time for leisure and lying around on spring break for some Chicago high schoolers. A number of students boarded coach buses and embarked on weeklong travel to the South and several of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Apostolic Church of God and Trinity United Church of Christ were among the organizations that hosted college tours, where students could get an upclose look at what the schools had to offer. Most, including these, departed over the weekend. 

Parents like LaShondra Bowling sent their children off with pillows and other comforts, electronics, snacks and a reminder to soak up the experience.

Bowling wants her 17-year-old daughter, LaVaun, to get “more knowledge of colleges … so she kows the choices she has.”

LaVaun Bowling ranks No. 9 in her junior class at Kenwood Academy High School. The band clarinetist was among the 44 students who went on Apostolic’s college tour, and left from the church Saturday evening. It was her third road trip visiting college campuses.

She hopes that any one of the HBCUs on the itinerary – including – will be appealing. The honor student plans to study math and science in college and wants a career working in a laboratory.  She’ll be looking for a school that offers a combination of academic rigor and enjoyable student life.

“I would like to have fun” while pursuing a degree, LaVaun Bowling told the Defender.

After the school year that Christian Medley, 17, has been having so far at King College Prep high school, he’s looking forward to finding a school that would serve him well for a career in accounting.  He joined Bowling on the Apostolic tour.

“I’m looking for a good feel for college,” he said. Medley has been on tours before and Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. and Morehouse College in Atlanta have already piqued his interest.

Trinity’s pastor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, prayed with the 42 students who left from the South Side church Sunday morning headed on the college tour.  He told the Defender that the educational exposure also feeds the kids’ soul.

“It’s essential to who we are, to ensure that our young people are not only growing in Christ, but also in their education,” he said.

Monday the students were intently listening to a presentation at the first university stops on the tour.

“Many students have not had the opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Moss III, a Morehouse College alum.

Organizations have long used the spring break week to take students on tours of higher education institutions.  The weeklong excursions have become a community service tradition to help reinforce to students the importance of going to college.

“It is absolutely imperative that our children are educated. It is the key to success, liberation,” said Moss III. “If we are to see any changes in our community, it will come through this generation educating themselves and understanding with clarity all of the issues and developing the discipline and skills to make a shift in our neighborhoods.

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