Making dreams come true

College Board sponsored a conference to help African American students prepare for college.

With college coming into focus for upperclassmen, 22 Diamond Bar High School juniors were given the opportunity to attend the “Own Your Own Future” event on March 12.

Presented by College Board, the meeting focused on the college readiness of African American students.

The students were selected by their GLC to be able to attend the event.

“We are a minority and we need more help in our education, because it’s always been hard for us to get into college,” junior Jade Givhan said.

Hosted by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the conference took place at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, and presented the topic “Strategies for Successful Transition to College.” This was the first time the convention had ever been held.

“It really meant a lot to me to be invited to something like this, because I’m about to go to college and this event helped me out quit a bit in figuring out how to do things,” Givhan said. “It taught me ways to pay for college, get into college and how to choose a college that you want to go to.”

During the provided breakfast and lunch, students could listen to guest speakers, including Michael Johnson, who played college football at Georgia Tech and was drafted by Cincinnati  in the  2009 NFL Draft.

“He talked about how he came into college and his steps he had to take to be able to succeed,” junior Camille Jackson said. “He said he wasn’t prepared at first, but he eventually got the gist of it all.”

Toward the end of the day, Brahmas attended a college fair, where they had the chance to talk to representatives from colleges like UC  Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley. One representative the students met was Youlonda Copeland Morgan, the vice president of enrollment management at UCLA. Givhan said she had previously met Morgan in a program outside of school called the Council of African American Parents.

“She really inspires people in the program I’m a part of, and she really helps out in showing me and others how to get into the University of California system,” Givhan said. “She talked about how to be focused in college and know where you want to go at the convention. I’m glad she talked about that.”

After attending the convention, Jackson and other students have gained a more positive and confident approach to college.

“It was very inspiring and I now have a better understanding of how college works; I can go into applying more confident,” Jackson said. “I now believe that I know more than I knew before and I know what to expect.”