Engaging Families for Student Success

College Night Recap

November 6, 2015

Families from Hart and Kramer Middle School gathered after their tour of campus as the beat of a dance performance from UMD’s Caribbean Dance Team filled the room at the Nyumburu Cultural Center. The performance set the stage for the middle school students and parents to explore the culture and life of a college campus.

This October, Turning the Page hosted its third College Night at University of Maryland- College Park for families from Hart and Kramer Middle School. Upon arrival to the campus, 29 parents and 49 students were welcomed by Turning the Page staff and representatives from University of Maryland’s Visitor’s Center. Families kicked off the night by exploring the campus with student tour guides and visited the main library, academic buildings, the student union, gymnasium, and a residence life hall.

Following the tour, families headed to the University of Maryland’s Nyumburu Cultural Center where they were welcomed by the Culture Center’s Director, Dr. Ronald Zeigler who shared his excitement about having the families on campus and the role of the Cultural Center at UMD. The Nyumburu Cultural Center was founded at UMD in 1971 as a way to engage students in the history and heritage of the African Diaspora. Betlemska kaple The Center creates opportunities for UMD students to explore their personal identity and their vested interest in the global community. The Center also offers academic courses and supports the University’s commitment to retention and matriculation of students of African descent.

Hart and Kramer families engaged with school administrators and students from UMD during two panel discussions led by Turning the Page. The first panel included representatives from the Career Center, Pre-College Programs, and the Nyumburu Cultural Center who shared information about their roles in supporting UMD students during their college journey. The panelists encouraged parents to begin preparing their children for the college application and selection process by sharing information about the steps that can be taken by parents – even at the middle school level.

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Photography by Ria Arnold

The second panel included seven UMD students from different parts of the country with majors ranging from information systems to community health who have been supported by the Cultural Center since their freshman year. The students answered questions about the mentors and family members who paved the way for their college success as well as their academic supports at UMD and goals after college. The UMD students concluded the panel discussion by leaving students and parents with words of encouragement and ensuring them that they have the potential to be successful despite whatever challenges may come their way.

At the end of the night, over 80% of families in attendance left feeling confident that they could support their children on the path to college. When asked how families will use the information gained from College Night, one parent shared, “I will get more involved with the counselor at my children’s school to make sure they are prepared when the time comes to go to college.” While the path to college presents various challenges for students and their families, the evening’s discussion showcased the impact that parents and family members have on their child’s journey to college and career. Turning the Page is excited to explore more universities with families in the near future.

Special thanks to Anne Reese Carswell and Kesha Naima Robertson from University of Maryland’s Nyumburu Cultural Center for helping make College Night at UMD a success.

Link to University of Maryland’s website: http://www.umd.edu/

Written by: Hadiatu Sumah