College bound Edmondson-Westside High School seniors had the opportunity to showcase their higher education choices during ‘College Decision Day,’ a special program held at the school on Monday, May 23, 2016. Principal Muriel Cole-Webber was joined by Congressman Elijah Cummings, members of the school’s faculty, college representatives, 92Q FM, the Baltimore City Health Department, and hundreds of the school’s freshman, sophomores, and juniors.
The seniors proudly held signs, which included Bowie State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, and Arundel Community College. This is the first year for the event, which took place in the school’s gymnasium. Edmondson-Westside High School is located at 501 N. Athol Avenue.
“The goal of the event was to really showcase the graduating seniors’ college choices, and to encourage the other grade levels to get excited about making their college choices, said Principal Cole-Webber, who is an alumnus of Morgan State University.
During the program, each of the participating seniors took photos with a representative from their chosen school, along with Cole-Webber and other Edmondson-Westside High School staff. The students also received a ‘care package,’ which included school supplies, snacks, toiletries, and other items.
“We have approximately 128 students who have committed to a school,” said Cole-Webber. “We wanted to put together something memorable for them.”
The day of the event fell on the same day that Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray.
“This program is an opportunity to show the city and the state that Baltimore City has a lot of positive things going on,” said Principal Cole-Webber. “A lot of focus has been put on the Nero trial and Freddie Gray, but Baltimore City is not about that one negative thing. If we spend more time investing in the schools, and the students, we can get away from the negative. We have to uplift our kids, and our mindset has to always be that they are our future.”
Principal Cole-Webber also highlighted the accomplishments of Edmondson-Westside High School Valedictorian Shawn Barnes, who will be attending Hood College, and Salutatorian, Marvin Watts who will be attending Susquehanna University.
“Many times the females are highlighted for their academic achievements,” she said. “But this year, we have two males who are graduating with the top honors.”
The busy day included lunch, and workshop sessions. Topics included: Healthy Me & Making Healthy Decisions for Your Body, conducted by Stacey Dennis of the Baltimore City Health Department. The workshops also included Collegiate Life 101:The Real Deal presented by Pure Potential Enterprises’ ‘Collegiate Dream Team.’ Pure Potential Enterprises is a nonprofit organization made up of three divisions: Clear Vision, Le Pearls, and Collegiate and Career Counseling. The organization was founded by Phyllis Coley, a counselor at Edmondson-Westside High School.
“This event is all about sowing seeds into the next generation of greatness,” said Coley, noting that 90 percent of the students are first-generation college students. “This event provided them with an opportunity to tell the world they have made their college decision, and to showcase the next chapter in their lives. This was a great event.”