CARES middle school and high school students take a tour of USF, part of a daylong symposium put on by Epsilon Beta Boule and hosted by USF to introduce students from under-resourced backgrounds to university life and support and scholarships available to them.
The University of San
recently welcomed about 90 under-resourced middle and high school students to
campus from around the Bay Area in its ongoing effort to expand higher
education opportunities for students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic
Already ranked among the nation’s 30 most diverse
universities, USF hosted the event Nov. 6, in part, to show students who might
not consider USF or college in general that advising support and financial
resources are available to them, said Margaret Higgins, USF assistant to the
president for special projects.
“These students don’t have the typical resources that many
USF students do,” said Higgins. “This is USF trying to respond to a sense of
obligation to these students by providing information and motivation about how
to get into college and for pursuing higher education.”
The fact is that these students are highly desirable to
universities and colleges such as USF that are interested in promoting campus
diversity, Higgins said.
The students, many of them minorities enrolled in the Mt.
Diablo Unified School District in Concord, including a number who had never
been on a college campus, took part in a daylong symposium at USF put on by
Epsilon Beta Boule, part the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity.
The fraternity is a made up of more than 5,000 African
American professional and civic leaders nationwide dedicated to promoting and
mentoring young men such as those from Mt. Diablo’s Collaborative for
Academics, Recreation and Enrichment for Students (CARES) After School Program.
Epsilon Beta Boule, which put on the event – dubbed Visions
of Success – for CARES students for the past three years, brought in prominent
African American professionals to speak to students about how they achieved
professional success. Among the speakers were the chief operating officer of
UPS, a top eye surgeon at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a real estate
mogul, and a USF trustee and professors.
“We’re planting seeds for how to be successful in life,
aside from trying to be like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant, which is rare,” said
Tracy Porter, a small business owner and entrepreneur who serves as current
president of Epsilon Beta Boule. “The key to being successful in life is
obtaining higher education.”
CARES students were given a tour of USF, including student
housing, attended workshops in which Boule members and invited guests discussed
how they attained professional success and overcame obstacles, learned about
the role of nutrition, sleep, and exercise in overall wellness, and heard USF
admissions experts outline what is required to be accepted into USF and what
scholarships they might secure.
“Visions of Success taught me to study even more on
weekends, to work harder, and that education is key,” said Isaac Gomez, an
eighth grader at Riverview Middle School in Bay Point who is involved in CARES.
“I also learned that even though I want to be a professional soccer player, I
must have a degree as a back-up in case I don’t make it.”
That’s exactly the response that Terri Porter, the
Mt. Diablo after school programs coordinator has come to expect from students
who attend the Boule’s symposium. “Hearing the history of how these men from
Eplison Beta Boule got their start and seeing where they are now gives
them hope,” Porter said. “It also let's them know that with education, good
values, and a strong sense of self the world is open to them.”