Students Represent HCC at Annual Black Brown and College Bound Conference in Tampa
Not only are Howard Community College (HCC) students making connections in the classroom, they are also making connections through networking opportunities, which help them gain the exposure necessary to fulfill their dreams. Each year, the Silas Craft Collegians and Howard PRIDE programs select about a dozen men who represent the college at the annual Black Brown and College Bound Summit, hosted each spring by Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.
The annual summit has emerged as one of the nation’s preeminent forums, which addresses issues facing black and Latino men in higher education. Due to the proximity to the University of Tampa, it is not uncommon for students to visit the campus and learn more about its rich history and offerings.
During the 2018 summit, then-HCC student and Silas Craft Collegian Randall Adams was granted the opportunity to tour the campus, where he set a plan in motion to not only finish his associate degree at HCC, but also devote himself to becoming a Spartan – University of Tampa’s mascot. Now, less than a year after his initial visit to the University of Tampa while attending the summit, Randall is now a proud Spartan.
During this year’s Black Brown and College Bound Summit, Randall shared his experience with his mentors Shawn Lamb, assistant director of the Silas Craft Collegians program, and Geoffrey Colbert, assistant director of the Howard Pride Program, as well as 13 young men who collectively attended the conference representing HCC.
Randall said he gained a lot while attending the summit while a student at HCC, including the acronym FOCUS, which he learned from one of the event’s speakers.
“That really stuck with me – FOCUS,” he said. “’Follow ones course until successful’. That’s what I’m doing right now, focusing on myself.”
Randall said he was drawn to the University of Tampa during his visit as an HCC student.
“I thought, ‘Maybe I should consider this,” he said. “It’s turned into my home away from home.”
During this year’s summit, Randall caught up with Shawn and Geoffrey and then invited the attending students to his college dorm.
“I showed them what dorm I was living in, where I was living next semester, the GPA requirement to transfer to Tampa,” he said. “They all seemed pretty excited. One of them said they might have to transfer down here.”
The student, Brian Commey, a Silas Craft Collegian and member of Howard PRIDE, said since returning to HCC he has already begun his application to the university. He also said he grew significantly by attending the summit with his peers.
“My participation in the conference was to build my self confidence in public speaking,” he said. “I had the opportunity to meet and mingle with the mayor of Tampa. It was difficult to start a conversation with someone I did not know but through this conference I learned to be open and made amazing connections with students and friends from HCC.”
Most of the sessions Brian attended helped him uncover ideas and spark inspiration with students from other colleges.
“I learned new tactics during the workshops about how to approach professors and talk to them,” he said. “Through one workshop I learned that procrastination is the killer of success. I learned the importance of philanthropy and giving back.
“Without the kindness of others, the road to a degree would likely have been much more difficult.”
Randall’s hope is that students took away the fact that they are lucky to have the opportunity to attend a community college.
“There are a lot of minority students who don’t have the money or resources to attend a community college or a four-year school,” he said. “I hope what they grasped is they should feel blessed they have the opportunity to learn at an amazing institution like HCC to get where they want to be.”