***Editor’s Note: In an effort to support the BMOA’s mission of “Empowering Minds and Building Leaders”, this year we commissioned a Chicago Public School student from True Star Magazine to serve as a guest correspondent for the 2017 Upward Bound and Rainbow P.U.S.H HBCU Tour. The student was given full access to the Upward Bound and Rainbow P.U.S.H HBCU tour activities and was asked to write a creative piece on their experience. Below is the student’s take on this year’s HBCU tour. Opinions expressed within do not represent McDonald’s Corporation or the Black McDonald’s Operators Association ***
My 2017 Push Excel HBCU Tour Sponsored By #BMOACHICAGO
By: Kaiqwan Johnson
The first day of my journey of the east coast was a pretty successful one. The day consisted of meeting a lot of teenagers who shared a similar story to me. They all came from Chicago, attend public schools, and were interested in college just like me. I can’t neglect to mention that we ate tons of FOOD and learned a lot about each other on the first night. The other 26 young men I met were slowly becoming my brothers. I was starting to feel a sense of responsibility towards them, being that I was the oldest boy in attendance.
As we cruised through the rocky terrain of Pennsylvania and Virginia we learned on the first day that responsibility is the key to living a good life as an African American man.
The second day was filled with a tour of Morgan State University, an HBCU that celebrates their 150 year anniversary this year. The campus was filled with eccentric life that keeps everyone excited. It’s a place where freshman students can come and enjoy the culture without being uncomfortable. The next college was Coppin State University. There we embraced a more outdoor campus lifestyle. As we pulled up the students were engaged in BBQs and volleyball games. We even enjoyed our own football game with the students. I rate day 2 a SUCCESS!
Now day three’s activities were unexpected because it was about bonding and getting to know each other personally. It was all about developing a brotherhood. We talked about forgiveness and knowing when and how to forgive people. We also visited Howard University where we were introduced to the entire Divine Nine Fraternities & Sororities. After Howard we took a trip to the quiet but very educational Bowie State University. Bowie was filled with D.C. culture with kids coming from all around the country but most were locals who grew up dreaming to attend the illustrious Bowie State University.
— True Star (@truestar4real) April 12, 2017
Today was a relaxed day. We visited University of Maryland Eastern Shore and I learned that they had an infamous football team that endured some trials and tribulations in the past. Next up was Norfolk State University in Virginia. This campus was beautiful and what stood out for me was the building that was completely glass! We ended our night bowling.
The last day on the college tour was filled with us all being exhausted! Yes we visited more colleges but we were on the brink of going to sleep for the next 72 hours just to catch up on all the sleep that we lost.
We were in Louisville, KY and this was the day of resolution. Every problem that we brought on the trip was resolved and if it didn’t get solved an elder chaperone stepped in for assistance and guidance. We visited Muhammad Ali’s memorial. We learned how this man fought for the rights he knew he deserved as a human being and a black man. As we end this trip I can honestly say that PUSH taught me more about myself as far as trusting a big family of brothers and being able to build a family with young men from all different backgrounds. No matter what situation we were in and no matter what the circumstances were, we always remained FAMILY.
Thank You BMOA Chicago for the sponsorship and True Star for recommending me!