HBCU Tour director busy aiding students to meet deadline

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Youth rush to beat the clock

By Chinta Strausberg

With the application deadline to attend the PUSH Excel Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour fast approaching, Kalana Cale, Youth Director of that project, Saturday helped several students to digitally complete their forms so they can be among those chosen for the annual trip that could result in receiving a scholarship.

The purpose of PUSH Excel, which is headed by Rev. Janette Wilson, is to education and involves youth in different areas of STEM, sports, and civic engagement.

Rev. Janette Wilson who is also a lawyer heads PUSH Excel. It is a tax-exempt organization founded in 1975 by Rev. and Mrs. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., whose motto, “I Am Somebody,” was adopted in schools across America.

Other founders include the late Lucille Loman and a number of nationally recognized educators including Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Dr. Elma Mardis, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Dr. Frank Hale, Dr. Camille Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint.

“We are an arm of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition that provide students with the necessary tools to excel in life and for them to be active responsible students,” said Cale.

Those chosen for the HBCU tour, which will be held from April 4-11th, will be going to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Dillard University, Xavier University, Grambling State University, Rust College, Southern University and A&M College and the Alcorn State University.

And, to introduce them to the business world, the students will also visit the Nissan Assembly Plant in Canton, Mississippi, the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

Cale, who continues to hold workshops to prepare the students for the tour and for the college experience, said, “The workshops will give them a blueprint for success and the ability to brand themselves and to be able to have a plan ABC in life.”

The next mandatory workshops are Saturday, “The Blueprint” & “”First Impressions-Etiquette,” Saturday, March 14th, “Swimming in the Corporate Mainstream,”—“The Real College Selection process,” and Saturday, March 28th, “Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready.”

“We are also arming them with soft skills which are tools they need that are neither technical nor academic but rather people social skills along with lessons in etiquette so they can not only communicate well but to do so respectfully and professionally,” Cale said.

PUSH Excel, Cale explained, inspires students to strive for academic excellence in spite of personal, family and community challenges they may face. PUSH Excel fights for equity in funding and allocation for educational resources so that each child receives a fair and quality education.

The mission of PUSH Excel is to promote educational excellence through the engagement of stakeholders in education and to work collaboratively to create opportunities, transform the lives of students and improve communities by supporting educational policies that guarantee equal funding for all students.

PUSH Excel calls for equity in these areas without regard to race or economic standing while challenging parents, students and teachers in pursuing high quality education and striving for educational excellence at every level. PUSH Excel forges partnerships with community-based and public sector stakeholders in education.

A mother of one, Cale graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Marketing and minored in Spanish, has a Masters Degree in Jurisprudence and is completing her masters in social justice ministry at the Loyola University Institute for Pastoral studies.

Cale is a member of the Fellowship MBC, where she is the youth Minister leader. She also serves on the board of directors for Cousins Empowered Optimists, a parent board member of the Marwen Art Institute and Dream Hustle Code organization.

The deadline for applying for the upcoming PUSH Excel HBCU tour is Thursday, February 20th. The next mandatory workshop is Saturday, February 22nd from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., Chicago, IL.

To download your HBCU tour application, go to www.pushexcel.org/HBCU-tour-application

or email Cale at mcale@rainbowpush.org. There is a $35 workshop fee, which is a down payment for the tour. That fee includes a student membership providing that the applicant fulfills the other tour requirements.

Attendance to the workshops is mandatory; however, satellite course options are offered via Zoom Meeting. That link is https://us04web.zoom.us/j/5067377913 and make up sessions will be available upon special requests.

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