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Rev. Al Sharpton Speaks At Local High School For Career Awareness Day

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A program that centers on getting more public high school students to continue to college was well received at a local high school Monday.

The Education for a Better America put on the forum, partnering with Florida International University and Al Sharpton’s The Education Effect.

CBS4’s Cynthia Demos asked the Booker T. Washington High School forum what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Web Extra: Full length version of comments by Al Sharpton to students

Lakeedra Mincy, who attended the forum, said she wanted to be a computer engineer.  Jahlil Rankin wants to be a football player.  Zabyrya Tillman wants to be a computer engineer and Morgan Benoit plans on double-majoring in criminology and broadcast journalism at FIU.  Gabriel Ulloa told Demos he wants to go into law enforcement.

What the students want to do is one thing, but Demos also asked how they are going to make that dream a reality.

One student said he would go to Florida International University, another to the University of Florida and the list goes on.

Morgan Benoit said she currently has a 4.5 GPA but is working on a 5.0 and is set to be the Suma Cum Laude.

The Principal of Booker T. Washington said that—as of now—about 45-percent of the students who graduate go to college.  That percentage is right in line with the Miami-Dade average which shows 50-percent of kids in the county at public high schools go on to college.

However for Booker T. Washington, 45-percent of students going to college is quite the success story.

Just five years ago, only 15-percent of those who graduated went on to college.  The principal said they have gotten the faculty and parents more directed and they have taught the students that a future in college is possible.

“It’s a team effort,” Principal William Aristide said. Student and parents are realizing the importance of education.”

Bringing forums like the one with Reverend Al Sharpton is a big reason why the numbers are improving.  Sharpton, at Monday’s forum, even shared a personal story with the students so they would know what he had to overcome.

“I was raised by a single mother my father left when I was nine,” said Reverend Shaprton. “My father not only left but humiliated us. He had a baby with my sister. We come out of a lot of craziness in life… you’ve got to believe in yourself!”

“Don't make things more complicated for yourself. When you're following your dreams, just do what you gotta do,” Executive Producer of Special Projects at CBS4 Cari Hernandez said to the students attending the forum. (Source: CBS4)

“Don’t make things more complicated for yourself. When you’re following your dreams, just do what you gotta do,” Executive Producer of Special Projects at CBS4 Cari Hernandez said to the students attending the forum. (Source: CBS4)

Reverend Shaprton wasn’t the only speaker, CBS4’s Cari Hernandez, Executive Producer of Special Projects, spoke to the students.

“Don’t make things more complicated for yourself. When you’re following your dreams, just do what you gotta do,” Hernandez said.

The words heard Monday will hopefully resonate with the high school students for years to come.

“We need to believe in ourselves,” said high school student Rankin.

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