As Political Science professor Lorrie Clemo once said, it is “critically important for us that our campus – faculty, staff, and students – reflects the rest of society.”
You may have seen advertisements for Helix’s prominent minority-inclusive club of students, Young Black Scholars. But have you ever stopped to think of the impact these students are making at their weekly meetings?
Young Black Scholars was formed in 1986 as an educational division of the southern-California based non-profit, 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.
It began as a solution to the 1983 study conducted by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The study indicated a shockingly low number of African-American students who were on track to graduate, while meeting University of California admissions requisites, according to the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles website.
The “pilot phase” of Young Black Scholars targeted 9th-graders throughout L.A. in 1986, providing them with mentoring and tutoring during their high school years. By their graduation in 1990, 70% of the students enrolled in the program had met or exceeded national admissions standards, according to the website.
Later on, Young Black Scholars became a club that is chartered all across the country, including here at Helix Charter High School.
Helix’s club co-president, sophomore Mahamed Abdulahi, says, “We are [here] to empower all students and give them a sense of community, a sense of learning, and a sense of a place that they feel comfortable…because it is hard when you are a marginalized person.”
All clubs are required to adhere to a list of ten rules. The rules necessitate ideas such as communication, accountability, appreciation of academic successes, and involvement with other minority and cultural groups on campus.
Within each Young Black Scholars program, focus is emphasized on five strands of activity – college preparation, cultural awareness, career awareness, social skills, and community projects.
Helix’s Young Black Scholars adhere to these rules while participating in social activism campaigns of their own. A few weeks ago, the club members wrote letters to cosmetic brand L’Oréal in response to the release of one of their models for political comments made on Facebook.
Abdulahi encourages all students to join, assuring they will be surrounded by a community of “people that are like-minded, and have similar beliefs and values.”
He emphasized that Young Black Scholars is here to, “bridge the gap between students.”
Young Black Scholars club meets on Thursdays at lunch in room 410.