60 high school students from Black Belt region attend second annual Legacy Camp
Sixty participants from 12 counties located in Alabama’s Black Belt region attended the 2nd Annual Black Belt Legacy Summer Camp, June 8-12, 2014. Co-hosted by the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) and The Auburn University’s Office of University Outreach, public and private high school students spent five days on Auburn University’s campus after having submitted an essay, “What is Your Legacy?” The camp included participants from Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox Counties.
Students gathered on the Auburn campus late in the afternoon on Sunday, June 8. Many were transported by bus from the BBCF office in Selma, AL, with suitcases filled with clothing and necessities for the week and hopes for a meaningful experience. After being checked into their dorm rooms for the week the students walked across the campus to a meeting at the Haley Center to be introduced to camp leaders and hear a discussion about the meaning of legacy. Students shared their thoughts and dreams during this session and also were challenged to soak in all that they could during the week of learning that was before them. A pizza party followed this meeting in the campus Eagles Nest, where the students were encouraged to mingle and meet their peers from throughout the region.
The camp began in earnest on Monday, June 9. Following a hearty breakfast the students took a group photo on the Samford Lawn in front of Samford Hall along with BBCF officials, and Dr. Royrickers Cook, Vice President for Community Outreach at Auburn University, and Dr. Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University. Students also took individual photos with Auburn’s mascot, Aubie.
A tour of the campus student store followed where students could purchase Auburn fan related gear, and get a feel for what a college store looks like and the course books it sells. With new gear in hand students were escorted to the Auburn football stadium for a tour of the home locker room and media room. The stadium tour was completed with a visit to the playing field where a group shot was taken in the bleachers. A campus tour followed the stadium tour.
Following lunch in Auburn’s Student Center, students gathered at Dudley Hall for an exercise in architecture, which challenged them to draw to scale, a cell phone. Seven of the 60 students in the camp were selected for scholarships to return to Auburn University for a future, architecture camp. Students selected included: Burford, a 10th grader from Wilcox Academy; Cook, a 12th grader from Wilcox Academy; Shalanica Dancy, a 12th grader from Greene County High School; Shadiamond Howze, a 12th grader from Francis Marion High School; Stephanie Larkin, a 10th grader from Sumter Academy; Mary-Harmon Patrenos, a 10th grader from Sumter Academy; and Darian Walker, a 10th grader from Choctaw County High School.
Tuesday, June 10, began with a morning visit to the Veterinary Education Center where students toured the facility. They also studied parasitology, the different parasites an animal can get. They also studied the dissection of dead animals, a process that had the students extremely engaged. The afternoon included a visit to Biggin Hall, where students were given a brief overview of art history. They also were challenged to become a curator and decide what would be included in their own museum.
On Wednesday, June 10, students visited the Shelby building and were introduced to the technology of websites. They also were instructed on how to build their own website. The extremely engaging session intermixed spirited teaching with popular dance music downloaded from the internet to drive home what was being taught. Students were challenged to build a website that saved money for a business, which, in the business world, could translate into a major raise in their potential salary. In the afternoon, students traveled to Tuskegee University to tour Booker T. Washington’s museum and to the Tuskegee air base to study the rich history of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The final day of the camp, Thursday, June 12, students enjoyed an outstanding breakfast in the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. A lively session followed that taught students how to budget their money, prepare for college, and discover how much it costs for them to individually live their lives in a successful manner. Included in the session was creating a monthly budget and preparing for the costs of attaining a college degree. They also were challenged to think about how they could become philanthropic in the Black Belt region by sharing their legacy rooted in the sharing of their time, treasure, trust, and talent.
Students then were given presentations on pursuing degrees in nursing, science and math, and engineering. The admissions process on how to become a student at Auburn University was also reviewed for them.
Following a served lunch where students were fed in a first-class presentation at cloth covered tables by waiters and waitresses. A closing celebratory reception, “Moving the Legacy Forward,” was then held where participants who excelled throughout the week were honored. Each student was also honored and received a certificate for attending the camp. Parents and guardians were invited to this part of the event as well.
“This camp was a unique and exceptional way for students to engage in activities on the campus of Auburn University to discuss the issues and assets in their communities and generate ideas for positive change,” said Felecia Jones, President of the BBCF. “Students participated in a variety of activities that focused on leadership, team building, community engagement, and career exploration.
‘Students who attended the event also matured tremendously throughout the week,” continued Jones. “They arrived from each county as smaller groups being secure in staying within their own cliques. By the end of the week, they all mingled and developed new bonding friendships. This process was special as it was rooted in going through an outstanding educational experience together that taught each of them to think of themselves as leaders, and being successful people who can change things around them for better in the Black Belt region.”