June 19, 2012
In the midst of summer vacation, Galesburg's newly revived chapter of the NAACP decided to focus its first youth-oriented event on education. Held Saturday, June 16 at Knox College, the "Youth Educational Experience" is the first in a planned quarterly series of events, said Candy Webb, president of the local NAACP chapter.
One of the group's goals is to educate young people, Webb said. "We decided that an educational activity could be about education, showing high school students how to get ready for college." The event included remarks from Rodney Bunch of Galesburg, one of the local chapter organizers; Anthony Law III, assistant director of campus safety at Carl Sandburg College; and Rod Thompson, a basketball standout at Galesburg High School and the University of Iowa.
"To create change in the community, we need to become more aware of ourselves," Thompson said before the meeting. "Change happens every day, but we take it for granted. We need to realize that every day has to be earned, by growing, by increasing our knowledge. It's not from watching TV or playing video games. The people who will help bring about change are the ones who are making a conscious effort to change themselves.
A panel of Knox students, moderated by Senior Assistant Director of Admission DeVone Eurales, gave a detailed view of what Knox expects from applicants for admission.
"Knox has a rigorous curriculum," Eurales said. "Rigorous means challenge. How do you prepare? One way is to take advanced placement classes in high school. It's the same as with sports -- it doesn't matter how strong you are, you have to prepare."
Students often feel pulled between family and school responsibilities, said Christian Lewis of Riverdale, Maryland. "There will be times when there will be problems at home, and you think that college may not work out," said Lewis, who graduated from Knox this month. "I learned that I could help my family the most by finishing my degree."
Eurales asked the Knox student panel to describe a struggle they had faced in college.
"Earlier this year I had to walk away from basketball," said Melvin Taylor, a junior from Chicago. "My whole life had revolved around basketball. It took me a while to realize I could become involved in other ways - coaching, teaching. Even if you're not able to do what you came for, another phase is beginning."
"DeVone suggested that a panel of college students would be easier for the high school students to listen to," Webb said. Halfway through the event, Eurales said, "we're kicking the adults out of the room, so the students can talk among themselves."
The next event, planned for the fall, is a workshop that includes personal finance and applying for scholarships and financial aid.