The Brightside: Next Generation Scholars
In Maryland, only about 27 percent of eligible African american students are enrolled in college.
That’s according to a 2014 education report.
A program called the Next Generation Scholars program is looking to beef up those numbers.
It seeks to show kids through experiences and mentoring that going to college and getting an education is something that is within reach for everyone, regardless of their background.
“Basically, Next Generations Scholars is a state grant that provides funding for college access through non-profit organizations to enhance college and career awareness.”, says program coordinator Tashe Williams.
Students like Heaven Rodriguez are flourishing in the program.
Rodriguez says it offers so many unique experiences that allow her to see what college life is like.
“For me its given me lots of opportunities to see different colleges. To see if I want to go to college and which college I want to go to. And what job I might want to get.”
Rodriguez says she is keeping her mind open about what she will major in, but knows she is definitely college bound.
“I’m really into math particularly because I’m really good with the math projects and stuff like that so. I really like math mostly.
When I grow up, I’m not really entirely sure because I have a lot of things that I’m good at a lot of opportunities and I’m still trying to figure out if I’m really good at or not.”
The program started up last year as a pilot and is now working with eighth, ninth and tenth-grade students at Wicomico Middle and High Schools.
Program coordinator Tashe Williams says us Its a pretty comprehensive program.
“Connecting could mean anything from bringing in our Maryland Scholars to speak. To bringing in our STEM specialist to getting them out to multiple college visits each year, which we do. ”
As a former professional athlete Williams knows how the dream of being king of the field can be ripped away.
However, he wants kids to know that having an education is paramount and will outlast all of that.
“Something that’s more tangible and realistic is sitting right here in front of you, your education.”, says Williams.