A group of 56 Florida students and their chaperones traveled Easter Sunday on a historical ride to the past, freedom-rider style.
Instead of the traditional college tour, students boarded a tour bus that traveled from Fort Myers and visited several Southern colleges and universities, as well as historical civil rights landmarks, according to the News-Press.
For many students, one of the most important components of a college search is the campus visit, but for these students, it was simply knowing their past in order to determine their future.
The college tour was organized through the I Will Mentorship Foundation, which empowers youth to make positive life choices through community-based mentoring. IWMF strives to help youth overcome stressors in their lives such as poverty, discrimination, abusive situations, addictions, unstable homes and academic life. Moreover, the organization provides mentoring programs that foster positive changes through goal setting, self-discipline, skill development and friendship.
Cape Coral High School junior Edrriana Hardin shared with News-Press how the trip gave her some insight into her future.
“It made me want to strive more,” she said. “When I see how much my ancestors did to help me get where I am today, it makes me want to achieve even more.”
Many of the students who traveled on the five-day college tour will be first- generation college students, including Cape Coral High School film student, Isaac Strong, who told the News-Press that he was revived from the scenery.
Strong said,“I’m just glad to be seeing another state for the first time.”
The tour began Sunday night and students returned on Saturday morning. During the tour, students traveled to historically Black colleges and universities such as Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, Alabama State, Alabama A&M and Tuskegee University.
Before the tour, the college bound program immersed students with information on college degrees and job prospects. The program also provides students with an additional 10-week intensive prep course for the ACT and SAT. It offers a third course that teaches students how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and apply for scholarships.
During the college-freedom ride, students traveled to national historic sites, such as the home of Martin Luther King Jr., Ebenezer Baptist Church and the base of the Tuskegee Airmen. Students traveled to monumental museums and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
The fee for the tour was $200, but most students were sponsored by churches or community groups.