Denise Jones/Co-editor in chief/@denisejonesLBCC
Over 150 middle school students and youth volunteers attended the first Male Summit sponsored by the LBCC’s LAC Black Student Union.
The event was organized to inspire students to attend college after high school, offer guidance and positive role models for boys ages 12-16 on Thursday, May 19 in LAC T1200.
The day-long program included local panelists from a variety of professions, a buffet-style lunch and coaches from the LBCC’s athletic departments of football, track, baseball and basketball who offered their life stories of overcoming obstacles, growing up in gang territories, the consequences of following the wrong crowd and the importance of attending college after high school.
Acting as host, Medhanie Ephram, deputy director of planning and construction for facilities and maintenance at LBCC asked, volunteers to go around the room and introduce themselves to students and invited them to sit with them at the tables, allowing students the chance to interact and ask questions.
Dwayne Green, president of the LAC BSU, said, “Our goal was to inspire these students to pursue their education beyond high school and that despite life’s challenges, you can succeed. This is only the beginning for LAC BSU. I’m glad the event was a great success.”
Having attended LBCC himself 15 years ago, event volunteer James Hernandez, a senior quality engineer at PCC Aerostructures, sat with students discussing his job duties. Hernandez said, “The challenge in communicating with young people is keeping their attention span longer than three minutes.”
Originally scheduled to be away from campus, LBCC President Eloy Oakley greeted students and welcomed them to LBCC.
“It was wonderful to see all of the young men from throughout our local schools participate in our first Male Summit,” Oakley said, “The Black Student Union made us all very proud by putting on a tremendous event and line-up of speakers for the young men who participated. Grassroots events like this makes me so proud to be a Viking.”
Marcus Hobbs, a mentor with the Male Academy at Marshall Junior High School and the City of Long Beach for at-risk youth, said, “I was once one of these kids. I attended three different middle schools because my mom moved a lot.” He said his own experiences of growing up in Long Beach drives his passion to help the next generation.