On April 25, Salt Lake Community College took part in the first annual African and African American High School Day Conference, offering high school students from various districts a morning of inspiring speeches, workshops and information concerning their college future.
“One of my biggest goals and my main focus as a multi-cultural advisor is the students,” says Glory Johnson-Stanton, Academic and Career Advisor at SLCC and Club Advisor for the Black Student Union (BSU).
A dream envisioned six years ago, the conference was organized by Johnson-Stanton with intent to give advice and guidance to high school students, helping them make the choices necessary for success. Research studies in Utah have shown that African Americans are the minority, with most never attending college, let alone graduating.
“Hopefully [these high school students] will learn something from us about how to maneuver through college and the importance of attending college,” says Doctor Abio Ayeliya, Leadership and Diversity Coordinator. “Education is the only way, and hopefully they will remember it is very important for them to persevere.”
Highlights of the conference came from several guest speakers, including SLCC Dean of Students Dr. Marlin Clark, 2010 SLCC graduate Makafui Danhounsrou and high school district representatives.
When it came time for workshops, high school boys and girls were divided into groups, each discussing leadership and self-image. The segments included discussions that gave students the opportunity to participate and have their perceptions on certain topics heard, free from judgment.
“I hope [these high school students] will walk out of [the conference] and say ‘you know what, I’m not going to be trapped in stereotypes, and create it without even knowing it’,” says SLCC student and BSU member Nura Abdalla. “Don’t be afraid to be who you are, [and] don’t be afraid to have confidence.”
There were over 100 high school students in attendance at the conference. Support came from BSU, Academic and Career Advising, Student Life and Leadership and the office of Dean of Students.
For more information on how to get involved, BSU meets Thursdays at noon in room 221 of the Student Center at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Photos by Stephen Spackman