For the third year in a row, Shorecrest Preparatory School is set to host an HBCU college fair. Next week will mark the first time the event has stretched to more than one day, and organizers expect more than 600 people to attend.
The purpose of the fair is to connect local high school students to possibilities in higher education that they might not know are possible, said Crystal Pruitt, a representative for Jack and Jill of America. The nonprofit works to improve quality of life for black children nationwide, and the local chapter Pruitt is part of has co-hosted the event at Shorecrest since its start in 2017.
"Students who attend the fair next week will be able to interact with recruitment representatives and alumni from historically black colleges and universities. That experience has spurred life-changing decisions in the past," Pruitt said.
“It’s so impressionable… that it has ignited a fire in them,” she said. “They leave the fair and know what college they want to go to.”
The three-day event will kick off with a 6pm movie viewing Thursday, September 12, at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N. Attendees will watch the 2017 film "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities," then have a discussion.
That same day, a panel of students and alumni from historically black colleges and universities will answer questions about their experiences, Pruitt said.
At 11am Saturday, Jack and Jill of America will host an awards luncheon and fundraiser at Shorecrest, 5101 First St. NE, where individuals and organizations helping local children will be recognized.
The actual fair, where students can learn more about schools nationwide happens from 1 - 4pm Sunday, September 15, at the Shorecrest campus. Recruitment officials from more than 30 schools will be available to answer questions and provide information.
Alumni and students from some schools will be present, too, ready to share insight about what it’s like to attend a historically black college or university. They bring “tremendous value” to the event, said Roderick Fludd, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Shorecrest.
“It really opens up the options for students about where they want to go to get their education,” he said. “Then they automatically have that connection.”
The event is part of a larger effort at Shorecrest to become more diverse. One of the top priorities in the school’s strategic plan is to “demonstrate and deepen a community-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”