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1,500 students have chance of HBCU scholarships

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Think HBCU college fair is set for April 23 and will provide 1,500 students throughout the country the opportunity for scholarships at 20 historically black colleges and universities in the United States.

The virtual HBCU fair will take place from 9am to 5pm. It has awarded more than $7m worth of scholarships to 300 Bahamian students in the last two years.

During a press conference on Tuesday to announce the event, Zoe Gibson-Bowleg said ‘Think HBCU’ is a collaboration between Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Pi Upsilon Omega and Eta Psi Omega Chapters, and The Bahamas Area of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, which consists of the Iota Epsilon Lambda and Pi Nu Lambda Alphas Chapters.

She said that their organisations saw fit to partner and “create a pathway to help Bahamian students take advantage of opportunities that will help them to become the leaders of tomorrow”.

Mrs Bowleg, of Pi Upsilon Omega Chapter, believes that their college fair is unique from others because students meet with college presidents, and not recruiters.

“The presidents will be there to award on the spot scholarships to deserving students to attend their institutions for the Fall of 2022,” she said.

Additionally, the US Embassy will make a special presentation to provide information and tips to students about applying for student visas.

Algernon Cargill, vice president of Iota Epsilon Lambda Chapter, said that the fair will be held in virtual format using the Hover platform.

“We have a maximum limit of 1,500 students that can participate in the fair this year, and we encourage Bahamians to register wherever they are in the Bahamas and outside,” he said.

The HBCU scholarships offered, he said, supplements government scholarships.

“Between the Bahamas government and the HBCU institution, many students will have the opportunity to go to school for free at no cost to parents,” he said.

“We continue to provide lots of scholarships to Bahamians, and this year will be no different,” he said.

According to Mr Cargill, the Think HBCU fair has been very successful, awarding millions of dollars in academic, music, band, and athletic scholarships to Bahamians.

During the 2019 fair, he said $3.5m was awarded in scholarships to Bahamians, and in 2021 a further $2m was awarded. Also in 2021, another $1.5m was awarded exclusively by Talladega College.

A fair was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Kevin Basden, president of Iota Epsilon Lambda, explained the history of HBCUs.

“The US Congress officially defined an HBCU as a school of higher learning that was accredited and established before 1964, and whose principal mission was the education of African Americans,” he said.

He stressed that HBCUs continue to play a major role in higher learning in the US and for students from all around the world. Though typically smaller in size, he said, they provide quality education.

“HBCUs account for 80 percent of black judges, and 50 percent of black lawyers and doctors,” he said.

Mr Basden said Dr Roderick Smothers, the 14th president of Philander Smith College, challenged their fraternities in The Bahamas to have an HBCU college fair, and they partnered with the AKA Sorority and launched the Think HBCU event in 2019.

Dr Smothers said Bahamians Dionisio Knowles and Vashanti Storr are excelling at Philander Smith College.

Mr Knowles, a graduate of Government High School, is an honour student majoring in accounting. Ms Storr, a national merit scholar and a graduate of St John’s College, is a Presidential Scholar recipient on a full ride scholarship. She is a double major in mathematics and chemistry and is on the President’s and Dean’s List.

The fair is open to 12th grade students, 11th graders, parents, guardians, guidance counsellors, coaches, band teachers, principals, and Ministry of Education officials.

Students may register at www.thinkHBCU242.com.

Comments

John 6 months, 1 week ago

It would have been great if the participating schools were listed and alumni from various schools invited for a meet and greet session (with proper Covid restrictions of course). There are hundreds of persons in The Bahamas who graduated from historically black colleges.

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John 6 months, 1 week ago

It would have been great if the participating schools were listed and alumni from various schools invited for a meet and greet session (with proper Covid restrictions of course). There are hundreds of persons in The Bahamas who graduated from historically black colleges.

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