African-American Partnership (AAP) Cabinet members and professionals from around Atlanta recently volunteered as mentors for the Georgia State Early College Program Professional Luncheon. Through 9 workshops over a 3-day period, the volunteers shared details of their college experience and career path to approximately 100 dual enrolled high school students.
By taking college courses in the 11th and 12th grades, these students are already ahead of the pack. Nonetheless, it can be a stressful period. The career exposure from seasoned professionals is helpful to students as they determine their own career path. Mentors were extremely impressed with the desire these young adults have to become successful. Several students engaged mentors in dialogue about non-traditional revenue opportunities like wholesale real estate sales and paper stock market trading to supplement income.
Dr. Tene Davis, Associate Director of the Early College Program at Georgia State University, explained that the professionals that participated in the luncheon are “the light at the end of the tunnel” for the students that are taking on the challenge of being a high school and college student at the same time. The students came from early college program high schools at Therrell High School, Maynard Jackson High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Carver High School, and Decatur Early College Academy.
When asked why he always makes himself available to participate in mentoring and networking events, Hugh Rowden, SVP at Wells Fargo Company, spoke passionately about the importance for African-American professional men to be there for the next generation. “Once you reach a certain level in your career, your platform is not about you,” said Hugh.
Zaria Echols, one of the dual enrolled students at the luncheon, found the sessions very helpful. She “learned that I should be open to change; and I realized that because of technology, some jobs may be done by robots in the future.” She now sees that she should be more open to travel and study abroad programs. After graduating she wants to become a Radiologist. Currently, she is a junior at Maynard Jackson High School.