For Immediate Release March 12, 2014
Contact: Valerie Martinez, Maritza Fairfield, (909) 445-1001
Black Teen Summit Inspires Lynwood Students
Event Features Motivational Speeches, Academic & Career Resources
LYNWOOD, Calif. – About 250 students from Lynwood Unified’s high schools on Feb. 26 attended the first inaugural Black Teen Summit, an event aimed at extending opportunities for the District’s African-American students, increasing academic achievement and college-going rates, improving access to job and career resources, and reducing the risk of incarceration.
The event, themed “No More Excuses,” was held in conjunction with Black History Month at the City of Lynwood’s Bateman Hall. It was organized by the Lynwood Unified District African American Advisory Parent Council (DAAAPC), in partnership with the Lynwood Unified School District and the City of Lynwood.
“This special event came about because I really wanted to do something for the students of Lynwood so that we could support the District’s efforts to help these kids raise their grades and be successful in life,” said DAAAPC President Mary Ransom. “It was our hope to start with our African American students, and later extend it to all of our students here in Lynwood.”
Micah Ali, president of the Compton Unified Board of Education, served as the opening guest speaker of the Black Teen Summit. The day continued with a variety of panelists and presentations that sought to promote students’ future success in college and careers.
In one session, Michael Dennis, who tours schools throughout the country through his organization, Teacher Power, promoted the message of personal responsibility to students, encouraging them to take control of their lives and create their own success stories.
“I came to this event to get some advice on life and on college requirements,” said Kaneisha Johnson, a 16-year-old student at Firebaugh High School who plans to seek higher education to become a nurse. “I learned that you need to take every opportunity that you are given; don’t let it pass you by.”
In another breakout session, speakers from the National College Resources Foundation shared information and important resources on college requirements, scholarships and group mentoring opportunities. The organization already has an established partnership with Lynwood Unified and works regularly with students at the District’s high schools.
As part of the presentation with the National College Resources Foundation, Marvin Thompson, who works with the organization and will provide guidance to students at Lynwood Unified’s Pathways program and Vista high School, shared his own story about how he turned his life around after struggling with drugs and other issues. He is now a proud student at the University of La Verne and is working to set up a bridge program that creates a path for students from Pomona Unified to attend the university campus.
“It’s important that our students hear about the struggles that others have experienced, but have managed to pull themselves out of difficult situations so that they could succeed and create a life they can be proud of,” said LUSD Board of Education President Briseida Gonzalez. “I hope our students took all of these great resources and will use them to achieve their goals.”
Another presentation from Hub Cities, a WorkSource career center based in Huntington Park, featured interviewing tips and good work ethic and etiquette. The workshop also gave students a list of available career and job resources.
“Our District is committed to preparing students to enter the workforce or college,” said LUSD Superintendent Paul Gothold. “This was a great resource for our students because no matter what their goals are, they received information from a variety of sources that could help them get there. I want to thank everyone involved for investing in our community and supporting us in our goal to educate the students of Lynwood.”
In addition, the event featured performances from groups from Lynwood Unified’s high schools and from Lynwood City programs. Beautiful artwork created by students at Lynwood High School celebrated influential African-American figures such as Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and Louis Armstrong.
Additional event sponsors included Central Basin Municipal Water District, Wing Stop, New Image Dental of Inglewood and Faison & Faison Children’s Dentistry of Compton, Ricoh-usa, the Law Offices of Dabbah & Haddad and the Del Terra Education Foundation.
SUMMIT1: Theresa Price, of the National College Resources Foundation, presents information about scholarships, college resources and more during the Black Teen Summit on Feb. 26.
SUMMIT2: Students from Lynwood High School’s Young Black Achievers Choir sing during the Black Teen Summit on Feb. 26.