Postcards from a College Road Trip

Through the generosity of a CRJ benefactor, 10 students received the opportunity this summer to go on a special college road trip. On their tour, they visited six historically black college and universities (HBCUs) they had researched or read about — Bowie State, Virginia Union, Hampton, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central and North Carolina A &T universities — all in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Ms. Jen Ewing, college counselor, and Mr. Jerome Bailey, social studies teacher, led the trip.

The students did what all high schoolers do on a college visit: Met admissions staff, toured campuses and took lots of selfies.  But they also journaled about their trip. Here are some of their thoughts from the first three days of their journey. #crjhbcutour15

Day One

Anntasia: So it starts off with a late bus, 10 energized teens, two awesome teachers, some bagels and munchkins, and a long week ahead. As each person arrived, our excitement grew. Once the bus arrived, that was the official START of the trip. Out first stop was Bowie State.

In front of the Bowie State bulldog
In front of the Bowie State bulldog

Sandra: Monday morning we headed to Bowie State. I had heard about Bowie State, but had no interest in considering it. After leaving Bowie State, I had a different opinion. I am now considering applying and consider it a college I like. Out of all the colleges we’ve seen so far, I liked Bowie State the most because of the majors and opportunities it gives. After Bowie, we headed to Kings Dominion. I had never been there before, so I was anxious but nervous to arrive – anxious to finally get to be there and nervous to get on a roller coaster after many years!

Anntasia: Adrenaline rushed throughout our CRJ crowd once we entered the gates of Kings Dominion! Laughs, fun, pictures, good times, good friends… But most of all good memories. That’s the beginning of our #CRJHBCUTOUR15

Sandra: I’m grateful to have been chosen for this trip and am enjoying it.

Day Two

Jainaya: First we had breakfast at Denny’s Restaurant..We sat together as a family and ordered hearty meals together. Next we toured Virginia Union University. We walked around campus, and learned about historical facts and monuments. Then we all had our lunch at Subway and cooled off for a bit. Everyone laughed and had an awesome time. Later we went ice skating, and everyone enjoyed themselves, falling and all. Finally, before we went to bed, everyone took a dip in the pool at our hotel. A good ending to an awesome day!!!

Day Three

Yul: Our first stop was Hampton University, the original HU. The tour at Hampton University was pretty cool and I really liked the school. They follow the motto, “The Standard of Excellence,” which I really like, and they focus on creating future leaders.

Mason: I can honestly say July 29th, 2015 will be a day I will never forget. We all woke from our slumber and met together for continental breakfast in the lobby. We left for Hampton University, the home of the Pirates. The school’s campus was gorgeous. I really enjoyed the size and scenery. The motto of the school was “The Standard of Excellence,” which intrigued me because I thought colleges were more about an individual’s journey. At Hampton, they are Proud Pirates that is crucial for the freshman class to be together, which I can see brought a lot of unity.

At Norfolk State
At Norfolk State

Yul: Then we traveled to Norfolk State University, the Spartans. I really loved this university tour, because it was well prepared and very interesting. I enjoyed their enthusiasm about their school. I love that they are really a family at the school, and rather than just influence you to work harder, they require you to do better. They will not give you privileges if you are not making your education your first priority, which reminds me of Cristo Rey, and I like that very much. Their motto was “Achieving with Excellence.”

Mason: I really loved it here. Their presentation was EXCEPTIONAL. They were professional, family oriented and serious. They explained to us the accountability we would have on campus, but yet definitely got the point of how family oriented they are, especially because of all the free programs and safety features. Norfolk freshman have no curfew; however, for the first semester the class as a unit has to average a 2.8 GPA to receive visitation rights and to attend social activities/parties. It was great to get that side of college. We then had a long drive to Raleigh, N.C. where everyone mostly slept until we checked in our hotel. We literally dropped our bags off then headed to Outback. As you may assume, after a day of fun and crucial learning we were starving. We enjoyed our meal and bonding time, and were very eager for the next day. What a way to end Day 3 of the #CrjHBCUTour15!

Yul: I really enjoyed both of the colleges we visited today. I have been really looking at Hampton University, and I liked that I actually got the chance to explore the college and the campus feeling. Although I had not thought of Norfolk State University, visiting the college has made me want to apply there and it may become my first choice. It was pretty funny visiting both of these schools in the same day since they are rivals. Now we are back on the road, traveling to Raleigh, NC. But, I can truly say today will be a day to remember.


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