A group of HBCUs visited Lincoln high schools for informational sessions

23 de Febrero de 2024 a las 06:00 ·

HBCU Info sessions
The HBCU Informationals held by The 1895 Project was free for students to attend. Organizers said they saw mostly freshmen and sophomores attend. (Photo by Andre Hunter/Unsplash)

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A group of representatives from historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), spoke with Lincoln high school students for the first time in a series of informational sessions. The sessions were organized by Lincoln-based nonprofit The 1895 Project, which aims to foster educational development for Black, brown and Indigenous students.

"They received information that they had not received before. They got a lot of insight into what it's like to attend an HBCU, the affordability, the ease of them applying and being accepted," said one of the co-founders Latasha Varnadoe-Iloabuchi. "The look on their faces was priceless. My heart was so full."

Varnadoe-Iloabuchi attended Northeast High School in Lincoln and later attended Alabama State University, an HBCU. She and fellow co-founders of The 1895 Project, Melanie Brown, Nicola Copeland and Wanjiku Gachugi named the nonprofit after the first documented African American Debutante Ball, which was hosted in New Orleans in 1895. HBCUs began as a way for Black students to attend higher education during a time in which they were banned from attending other institutions.

They gathered representatives from Alabama State University, Grambling State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Lincoln University, Morehouse College, Tennessee State University and Wilberforce University to speak with students from four Lincoln public high schools. The representatives traveled from Northeast High School, then North Star, then Northwest and finished the day of informational sessions with Lincoln High School. According to Lincoln Public Schools records, a little more than 7% of its high school students identify as Black or African American.

Varnadoe-Iloabuchi estimated they reached more than 100 students.

“I hope students walked away with knowing that they have the option and the ability to attend institutions that are out of state, that are affordable, that are a safe space for them. They can be themselves and embrace who they are," she said.

The 1895 Project offered fee waivers for the Common Black College Application, which can be used at 66 HBCUs. During the sessions, The 1895 Project also raffled off four Chromebooks and talked about their three essay-contest scholarships.

"Representation matters. And all children cannot fit in one box. We have to meet them where they are," Varnadoe-Iloabuchi said.

She added they hope to continue expanding knowledge of HBCUs for Lincoln students in years to come.

There are no HBCUs in Nebraska nor in its surrounding states other than Missouri.

Nebraska Public Media reached out to Lincoln Public Schools and they did not have a comment for this story.