Monday, January 28, 2008

Art Show! College Counseling! Native Son! Oh my!

There are a couple of exciting things happening here at Cabrini Connections. Probably the most exciting for me, is the art show, which as I mentioned in the previous post, will be Friday February 8th at the Pallette and Chisel. To see meet the students and see some artwork, go here. I think the sample artwork is a testimony to how talented the students are.

Also, I encourage everyone to continue reading Will Okun's blog in the New York Times. His most recent post "Guidance," higlights the issue of inner city students, especially racial minorities, going to four year colleges. There are many talented and intelligent inner city black and latino students who are more than capable of being the first in their family going to college. Unfortunately, so many of them are held back from doing so for a number of reasons: their family needs them to work, they are afraid of leaving their neighborhood and feel like their betraying their family and friends, they are the only ones who will have the experience of going to college, the list goes on. Not withstanding the issue of money. That is why organizations such as Umoja, and of course Cabrini Connections, focus on college counseling so that students who have the grades, talent and desire can go to college.

Often, a lot of these students do not even know about where to look for colleges because as Mr. Okun writes in his blog, most college counselors are focused on grades, standardized testing, and just getting their students to graduate from high school, rather than on getting them into college. That is why volunteers such as Jen Nolan, who has been volunteering her time in helping our students apply to college, are so important. Ms. Nolan not only helps our students find colleges, but also helps them find scholarships and grants, and has even started a fund for our students to pay for college applications, (which I remember quite well from the days when I applied to 13 schools, eeep!), which can go for $50 a pop. To help students afford to apply to college, you can visit the Cabrini Connections College Application Donation site.

Mr. Okun, in a previous post, wrote about the need to get students to read good books. I, in my post-college self, have thoroughly enjoyed spending the 1 hour train ride to and from work to read all the books that I have been meaning to since high school. I especially have been enjoying reading African American literature, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison being my favorites. However, I am currently reading Native Son by Richard Wright, which is set on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s. I encourage everybody who has the time to read it because I think you'll find it very striking that many things have not changed since the 1940 in regards to race relations and the situation in the American inner city.

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