Cedar Rapids middle schools celebrate African American achievement at college campus visit

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - About 100 Cedar Rapids students spent the day on the University of Iowa campus for the tenth annual African American Achievement Program. Students must be of African descent, meet certain grade requirements, and not have any office or principal referrals to participate.

“Kids start making important decisions about college at a young age,” said one of the program’s founders, John Achrazoglou. “The type of classes they’ll be taking, the programs they’ll participate in, and it takes a while to get your test scores and documentation to be admitted to college.”

Students read the book ‘The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream’ prior to the event. At the same time, University of Iowa staff members also read the book. Friday, the group discussed the book, met Herky, and heard from University of Iowa students about what college is like.

“I want to be a therapist, I like the idea of figuring out people’s problems,“ said Taft 8th grade student Zubayda Mohamed. “I want to make an impact on people’s lives.”

Program organizers hope this event helps students like Mohamed realize college isn’t as daunting as it seems but that it requires some planning, which should begin in high school.

“We want to make sure they’re prepared, even just for high school,” said program organizer Kimberly Abram-Bryant. “Making sure they don’t become fatigued after being in the building for four years. Emotionally you’ll go through things, physically you’ll go through things, and friendships will change.”

Organizers hope funding for the program will continue in the future, they hope to bring more students on the trip next year.