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A Program That Elevates: P.R.I.D.E.

A profile picture of Darius Carroll.

When Darius Carroll Jr. first enrolled at HCC, his goal was “to get in and get out.” That plan completely changed after he learned about the Howard P.R.I.D.E. program, which stands for purpose, respect, initiative, determination, and excellence.

Through the program, Carroll has attended a leadership conference in Florida and participated in an alternative spring break, where he and other Howard P.R.I.D.E. students visited four-year universities and colleges.

“When I first heard about P.R.I.D.E., I thought it sounded almost too good to be true,” said Carroll. In fact, it exceeded his expectations.

At the heart of Howard P.R.I.D.E. is case management and one-on-one tutoring, an effort to turn around the low achievement rates of Black male students in developmental mathematics. The tutoring encourages not just subject mastery – complex mathematics concepts are broken down into understandable parts – but also wide-ranging conversations about academics and student goals.

Howard P.R.I.D.E. began with just 25 students, an hour mathematics tutor, and a part-time director to guide their success. Fast forward to today: 170 students are engaged in P.R.I.D.E. activities, with ten serving as peer leaders. The program employs two full-time staff and a cadre of tutors.

Over the past four years, Howard P.R.I.D.E. students are retained at greater numbers compared to all African American/Black males. The current rate for P.R.I.D.E. students continuing at HCC or completing college is 70 percent.

Assistant Director Geoffrey Colbert credits much of the program’s success to the strong support the program receives from colleagues across the college and generous donors. When the data showed a dip in outcome measures several years ago, the college analyzed the program and found it grew without sufficient resources. Staff positions were added, and lunch vouchers now ensure students in need receive meals (about 75 percent of P.R.I.D.E. participants qualify for Pell grants, high education’s indicator of low income students).

In the program, students play an active role in designing their activities, such as determining how to celebrate students who are graduating or transferring. They also participate in Tuesday professional dress days and engage in a variety of outreach activities, including sit-down discussions and friendly athletic games with Howard County police officers.

“This program really elevated me,” said Carroll. “It gave me a support system and so many opportunities.”

Carroll was accepted to University of Maryland, Baltimore County for social work, but is postponing college to enlist in the military. He plans to use the GI Bill to obtain his bachelor’s degree at a later date.

Carroll knows he will bring the leadership skills he gained at HCC to the military. He will also carry with him the purpose, respect, initiative, determination, and excellence that are central to P.R.I.D.E.

For more information, visit the Howard P.R.I.D.E. page.

Topics: Success Stories
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