“Black Males: Defining Our Own Identity” is the theme of the Orientation and Welcome Ceremony of the Honore’ Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement (Honore’ CUSA), scheduled Saturday, August 9 at 10 a.m. in the College of Business & Public Administration, Room 100.
Retired WDSU-TV News anchor Norman Robinson will be the keynote speaker at the event, during which eight New Orleans-area students will join the ranks of the program’s third cohort of young men.
Honore’ Center Director Warren A. Bell said the 2014 candidates were “very competitive from the standpoint of their ACT scores, high school GPA’s and their likelihood to succeed in a college environment. We believe they are those hidden stars in our communities waiting to be developed and groomed into future leaders after receiving extra guidance, monitoring and resources required to ensure their college success.”
The program is named after retired Lt.General Russel Honore’ (U.S. Army), a Southern University graduate who successfully commanded U.S. forces deployed to South Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It recruits NOLA-area male high school graduates who are Pell Grant eligible (to cover their tuition and related academic fees) but whose ACT scores and GPA’s may not qualify them for immediate acceptance into the state’s four-year colleges, yet they demonstrate the potential to succeed. In exchange for the support they receive, each candidate agrees to spend at least two years employed as either a certified classroom teacher or by providing other services at a school in New Orleans or the surrounding area, where a positive and well-informed Black male presence would be beneficial.
The pilot program initially was funded by the Louisiana Legislature with additional support from private foundations. It was envisioned by Southern University System president Ronald Mason Jr. and is endorsed by the White House Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).
“We provide these Honore’ men with a structured living and learning environment on the Southern University at New Orleans campus that includes a curfew, codes of conduct and appearance, plus extensive resources and support to help ensure their success,” Bell said.
“We are excited to share our strategies with other HBCU’s in hopes of inspiring similar centers to make sure more Black males are successful college students,” said Mason, who conceived the program and is a member of the White House Board of Advisers on HBCU’s. ”These young men will help us demonstrate that we CAN increase the number of young men completing college and returning to their communities as productive citizens and servant leaders.”
The young men, all 2014 high school graduates accepted as Honore’ Scholars are:
- JOHN BROWN – Sophie B. Wright High School
- RICHARD BROWN – Landry-Walker High School
- LAWRENCE CLOVIS – Landry-Walker High School
- KEITH DAVIS – SCI Academy
- MICHAEL HALE, JR. - Warren Easton High School
- DARRYLE L. JOHNSON – N.O. Charter Science & Math High School
- KERRY MCKINNEY III – St. Augustine High School
- JAMON WILLIAMS – Joseph S. Clark High School
For information about Saturday’s event contact, Warren A. Bell, at 504-235-8706.
For information about the Honore’ Center, including how to support its efforts, visit the Center’s Web site: honorecusa.sus.edu.