SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – They have their backpacks on, suitcases packed, and eyes wide with possibilities. For a group of local high school students, college isn’t a requirement, it’s an opportunity.
On Sunday, 40 students gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Springfield before boarding a bus to the 32nd annual Historic Black Colleges and University Tour, a journey that could in many ways, become the first step towards the rest of their lives.
Tariq Green, a sophomore from Central High School told 22News he’s using this trip as an opportunity to explore what colleges have to offer. “Well, when we go on this trip we can get a feel of the atmosphere first hand, because we’re going to be at the colleges so it’ll be a good opportunity. I definitely want to go to college, but I don’t know too much about what I want to major in and stuff,” he said.
Jayshaun Pinckney, a sophomore at Putnam Vocational Technical High School, said he knows exactly what he wants to do when he grows up. “I want to be a choreographer, I want to dance, I love dancing,” he said.
Pinckney plans on taking full advantage of the tour these next five days, a chance to visit his dream schools, and hopefully, a chance to find his next home. “Walking around is no good for me. I don’t want to end up dying or anything before I get to the age of 18. I’m young right now, so I want to get out there and experience college life,” he said.
The college tour also gave parents a taste of what their child’s lives might look like in a few years. Chelan Brown’s son has already received scholarships for academic excellence. She told 22News, this is a chance for him to see first hand how far good grades and a good attitude can actually take you. “To see that there’s a bigger world beyond Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s easy for them to do the wrong thing; there are a lot of pressures out there for them. They just need to know that just as many bad things are out there, there’s good, like today,” she said.
The MLK Community Center will take the students to see eight colleges over the five day tour.