by Taki S. Raton
Twenty-four students from Milwaukee’s Riverside, Rufus King, Messmer and Kenosha Unified School District were in attendance for the Fourth Annual Honors Student Reception (HSR) Friday, October 15 at Chicago’s downtown Merchandise Mart.
Sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of 100 Black Men, the HSR serves as the opening event for their yearly College Scholarship Fair Weekend. The HSR has gained national reputation for showcasing Chicago and the surrounding area’s finest, talented and most academically achieved African American high school seniors.
Attending students and parents had the opportunity to engage with a very prominent group of 37 hand-selected colleges from across the country.
“These are colleges and universities that have consistently shown an active interest in recruiting the very best and brightest of Chicago’s urban students,” said Ken Malone of the Chicago chapter 100.
Malone adds that the recruiters at the HSR event are from top colleges and universities “that have proven to create leaders from all across the country and have provided students while on campus with the best possible financial and scholarship opportunities available.”
“I was excited because my top choice school, The University of Pennsylvania was there and I was able to get key questions answered. I was also introduced to other schools that I have never thought of attending and was able to meet a number of college representatives,” said Milwaukee’s Rufus King senior Brittney Henry.”
Shantel M. Hendricks, Mother of Messmer High School senior Jade Hendricks who joined her daughter on this trip said that she “thoroughly enjoyed” the Honors Student Reception:
“It is very refreshing to see African American men working together for such a great cause towards encouraging, inspiring, and enriching our young people. Our children need to see what’s possible for them through living examples of what hard work, dedication and vision can accomplish.”
Hendricks shares thanks “to both the Chicago and Milwaukee Chapters of 100 Black Men, to Outback Steakhouse at the event for the wonderful meal, Providence Baptist Church for the transportation, Josephine Hill for the Women’s Center and a special thanks to the Milwaukee organizers for included our students from Kenosha.”
Her daughter Jade added, “It was great and very informative. I learned more about a variety of colleges and was inspired by my interaction with the college representatives present. My first choice before attending the Honors Student Reception was Michigan State University. I now feel that I have applicant prospects at Princeton University and at Howard. This opportunity inspired in me more confidence to not only apply but with strong possibilities of being accepted by several colleges at this event.”
Rufus King senior Afeni Grace noted that the HSR experience was very helpful in her college bound decisions:
“The colleges that I spoke with broadened my range of selections, although my primary focus is on Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia,” Grace said. “This Chicago venture gave me more confidence in moving forward by investigating a variety of schools and acquiring more familiarity with the campus to which I will soon apply.”
Grace added that she is thankful for the assistance shared with students in an orientation meeting prior to the Honors Student Reception date, “particularly the discussion on the importance of proper social skills for such an occasion. I am so happy to have attended this affair and feel honored to have been a part of it.”
Last year, 13 top-of-the-line seniors from Riverside, Rufus King, Messmer and Divine Savior Holy Angels attended the HSR. This year, there were two students from Riverside, 10 from Rufus King, three from Messmer and nine from the Kenosha Unified School District. This final 24 count was down from the original total of 32 students who were initially registered to attend as of the October 7 registration closing date.
In addition to Kenosha, the outreach this year was additionally to Beloit Memorial High School in Beloit, Wisconsin and Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin.
As with last year, the invitation criteria for this highly selective HSR is a 3.3 minimum GPA and a 23 cum or above on the ACT. Students were asked to bring in their personal portfolio copies of their resume, a completed Common Application or an application of their selected campus, a personal writing sample, a copy of their transcripts and their ACT score.
Colleges and Universities present included Brandeis University, Carlton College, Colgate University, Dartmouth College, Grinnell College, Georgetown University, Howard University, IIT, Illinois Wesleyan University, Knox College, Northwestern University, Morehouse College, Oberlin College, Princeton University, Spelman College, Tufts University, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan College and Yale University.
“I very much appreciated the 100 Black men Honors Student Reception,” said Carlotta Bond, mother of Rufus King senior Alexis Bond.
“What a privilege it was to attend and witness the student’s enthusiasm when talking to the various colleges represented. These young people truly value their future. We thank the Milwaukee chapter of 100 Black men and the organizers for allowing us to attend. And please keep this going for our students in the future,” she adds.
Riverside High School Shuquanda Jones said, “It was exciting to talk to many admission counselors. It was an opportunity in this setting to broaden my choices of colleges and universities. I am looking closely at Chicago State University and Illinois Wesleyan College as a result of attending this event.”
Rufus King senior Natasha Tate shared that “The college fair was very informative and I had the opportunity to ask a lot of questions about the schools that I was interested in and received very pertinent information.”
Prior to boarding the bus, students and parents were treated to a send-off reception at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, 3020 West Vliet. The program featured food, refreshments and congratulatory remarks from many involved in the program, including Dr. Earl Wheatfall of the Milwaukee Chapter of 100 Black Men, Norris Jones, Coordinator for the Office of Student Engagement and Equity of the Kenosha Unified School District, Milwaukee Springfield Campus Director Dr. Warren Braden and Josephine Hill of the African American Women’s Center.
The students were treated to this fine send-off, making the second year involvement with this occasion a tremendous success.
Said John Kendall, Chairman of 100 Black Men Chicago: “Milwaukee has graced us again in this, their second year, with its selection of students who reflect the highest standards of the Honors Student Reception invitees. We are proud to have Milwaukee and their school district guests to join us. We look forward to your participation next year in our fifth annual event.”
Taki S. Raton is a school consultant in the African Centered instructional model. Former founder and principle of Blyden Delany Academy in Milwaukee, he is a writer and lecturer on the national stage detailing African World historiography, urban community concerns with emphasis on education, the social development of Black youth and African American male issues. He can be reached by email for presentation and consultant inquires at: [email protected]