Sun Prairie High School hosted a send-off on Thursday for 18 students visiting three Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) in Tennessee this weekend.
The event included food, music and a short presentation before the students jumped on the bus to the airport. Faculty, administrators and county executive staff attended the event to show their support.
“I’ve been working for Sun Prairies School District for six years now and this is our second year doing an HBCU tour,” faculty member Faith Stevenson said.
As a product of an HBCU herself, she hopes the students will see themselves on the campuses they plan to visit. Stevenson also would like them to have the opportunity to experience the full width and depth of Blackness.
She said the students will see a lot of African American faculty, doctors, and lawyers, people who believe Black people can succeed. Stevenson would like students to consider where they see themselves in the next few years.
“You can choose to go to a PWI [Predominantly White Institution]. It’s a perfectly wonderful option but going to an HBCU, why it really matters is because representation is paramount to your growth, your development, your belief system. It strenthengths you in such a way that other schools don’t necessarily have access to,” she said.
Some students have particular schools on their mind already. Senior Zaveon Jones said she is excited to visit Tennessee State University. Senior Jada Kyles looks forward to visiting Fisk University.
“We went to a lot of HBCU college tours and Tennessee State always came up,” Jones said.
Both of them have already done their research. Jones would like to check out the campuses’ sports facility while Kyles is more interested in the film and arts department in addition to campus life.
“I’m excited to see about the dorm life there,” she said.
Last year, Stevenson said Black Student Union students did a lot of fundraising to make the trip happen. This year, they didn’t have to, as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Equity at Sun Prairie Area School District Stephanie Leonard-Witte said American Family Insurance made this trip possible. This is the first year the company has donated all of the funding.
The students departed Thursday afternoon and will return next week.
“We want you to think about the city and we’re supporting your endeavor,” Sun Prairie City Administrator Aaron Oppenheimer said.