NBCA Black College Tour with Boston high school students at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. From left to right, Executive Director George “Chip” Greenidge, Jamie Lyons, Myante Lynch, Antione Sheffield, Kyle Shariff
|During a stop at Virginia State University, high school students listen to a freshman talk about college life.
For many students, the idea of living away from home for the first time can be a little unsettling. The National Black College Alliance (NBCA) wants to settle some of those nerves.
Leading the charge is Chip Greenidge. As executive director of the NBCA since 2000, Greenidge is the perfect guide to introduce local high school students to not only college dormitories but also life at a historical black college.
As a high school student in Cambridge, Greenidge decided on Morehouse in Atlanta because he wanted to be in “an environment where black men were committed to academic achievement.”
Greenidge grew up in an academically stimulating environment. His father was a teacher in the Cambridge pubic school system and through his father’s friends, Greenidge learned about the “high academic standards” of some HBCUs.
After graduation from Morehouse, Greenidge returned to Cambridge with an abiding interest in education. He went on to receive a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Education.
It was a natural fit for Greenidge to take delight in exposing Boston area students to the many opportunities at the HBCUs. Since 2000 he has taken a total of 500 students on the annual tour. During the April vacation, students board a bus to travel to Morgan State in Maryland, Hampton and Norfolk State in Virginia, and Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark in Atlanta.
“It is exciting for the students because when the bus pulls into a college, students from Boston are there to meet the visitors — and then those students often serve as tour guides,” Greenidge said.
Students on the tour do not get to sleep overnight in one of student dormitories. Accommodations are in hotels. But, as Greenidge explains, “students walk around to see the campus and meet with professors. It is an eye opening experience for local students to visit these colleges which are run by African Americans.”
When the economy was not depressed, charitable contributions were able to underwrite the cost of the trip. Now students have to pay the $1,000 fee themselves. “Students who really want to go are able to gather the funds from contributions from family members,” Greenidge says.
Myante Lynch, a senior at Tech Boston Academy at Dorchester High enthused, “In 2000, when I was nine years old, I watched my brother Michael go on the Black College Tour. I saw students that were going to class, who cared about their studies and were engaged. Going on the NBCA Black College Tour made me want to go to college.”
The NBCA office is at 2304 Washington Street, Roxbury.
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