Participants in Berkeley City College’s summer 2016 Umoja Scholars Academy (USA) proudly displayed and explained a variety of career path exhibits on Tue., July 26 in the college’s 4th floor conference room.
Lead by Skyler Barton, a BCC Learning Communities coordinator and counselor, and by BCC counselor Allene Young-Hegler, BCC’s Umoja academy brought together more than 20 area high school students, each with a unique career aspiration. Participants included D’Yale W. Adams, Akeyla Addison, Sharif Allah, Paulo Athans, Ernest Blackmon, Ashlee Davis, Kemony Gandy, Arsalon Gawhary, Arryon Greely, Shakilyah Goosby, Cinque Holliday, Tiffannie Jones, Najee Jones, Remi Lambirth, Brianna Lipscomb, Maximilian Louther, Omari McCoy-King, Kaylynn McCoy, Cameron McGowan, Bianca Rodriguez, Raynette Shields, Charles Van Meurs, Gwendell Villasanta, Treasure Young and Danari Williams. The group begins college at BCC this fall.
“It has truly been an honor and pleasure to work with this amazing group of scholars this summer,” Barton said. “As their instructor, I have witnessed tremendous passion for learning, teamwork, leadership, and much more and have been thoroughly impressed and inspired!”
Umoja, a Kiswahili word meaning unity, is committed to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences and increasing the persistence and retention rates of African American and other students. BCC’s Umoja Scholars Academy seeks to educate the whole student—mind, body, and spirit. The program actively serves and promotes success for all students through a curriculum responsive to the legacy of the African and African American Diasporas. Informed by an ethic of love and its vital power, Umoja engages students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought.
Ernest Blackmon’s and Arsalon Gawhary’s paths will take them into the world of business and finance. “I love to communicate, lead, sell, and manage efficient business operations,” Blackmon explained. “Business management and operations will be my focus in college.”
Akeyla Addison, Magee J. Jones and Kaylynn McCoy all want to help children grow and thrive. Addison, who was part of Berkeley High’s Academy of Medical and Public Service, will prepare for a career as a pediatric nurse. “I have always liked working with children,” she said. “This will let me give back to the community and influence the lives of young children.”
Jones’s future occupation will focus on children’s advocacy. “As a social worker and child advocate, I can make a real difference in children’s lives,” he said. “The community and the family can work together to be a positive influence, even in emotionally challenging situations.”
Future elementary school teacher McCoy wants to reach children in their formative learning years.
“When I was at Berkeley High, one of my teachers influenced me to consider teaching; that made me start to think about good and bad teachers I had in kindergarten through high school,” she recalled. “I want to teach elementary school because I want to take approaches to teaching that makes a difference in students’ lives. Some work well in groups but others need individual attention. I want to be able to reach them in whatever ways that helps them to learn best.”