Spring break began Monday for Chicago Public Schools and thanks to funding by the Black McDonald’s Operators Association of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana 40 high school students left Sunday to tour 11 historically black colleges and universities.
The tour is a collaboration between the nonprofit Metropolitan Family Services and BMOA, who helped fund the tour.
The higher education institutions students will visit this week are Norfolk University; Howard University; Hampton University: Morgan State University; Coppin State University; John Hopkins University; Lincoln University; Ursinus University; Morgan State University; University of Baltimore and Cheney College.
Students boarded a coach bus Sunday from a South Side McDonald’s restaurant, 9560 S. Halsted St., to begin their east coast journey.
BMOA President Derrick Taylor joined parents to see students off.
“Some students cannot afford to visit colleges and end up choosing schools based on word of mouth or what they read on the Internet,” said Taylor. “We [BMOA] wanted to give students an opportunity to visit schools and see what it has to offer them. This way they have enough information to decide if that school is a good fit for them.”
The students ranged from freshmen to seniors including Maya-Nicole Morgan, a 14-year-old freshman at Percy Julian High School.
“This is my first college tour and I’m excited to see what college looks like and what you need to do to get into college,” said Morgan, an aspiring model. “I want to be a model to get money so I can open my own cosmetology business. My mom has always encouraged me to pursue modeling as a career.”
Tyree Smith, a 17-year-old junior at Urban Prep High School, said he has toured colleges before.
“I never visited any of these schools but I went on a college tour last year. While I like black colleges my first choice is the University of Illinois at Urbana,” said Smith. “I want to be close to home and study business. College tours are good because they give you a better look at ‘college life’ and what to expect after high school.”
Senior Lawren Hall, 17, wants to own a record label.
“I like to sing. I sing at school, church or anywhere I can sing,” explained Hall, who attends Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep. “Black colleges are better, I think, because it gives you more cultural experiences than non-black schools.”
And Latisha Council, a 16-year-old sophomore at DuSable High School, said she has also been toured colleges before.
“Education, nursing or law are three professions I am considering,” said Council, who resides in the city’s Englewood neighborhood. “My dream school to attend is Spelman College in Atlanta. I have a lot of men in my family who attended Morehouse College [in Atlanta] and since I have been in Atlanta a lot and like it there it only makes sense to attend college there,”
Kim Greene, resource coordinator for Metropolitan Family Services, said thanks to BMOA the annual tour was expanded to 11 schools from eight last year. She said the college tour costs around $25,000.
“None of the kids had to pay anything for this tour and that’s largely because of the generous donation from BMOA,” said Greene, who added that student will visit cultural sites too. “We do a second tour of local community colleges as well because we don’t know where these kids may end up so we try to take them to a variety of schools.”