Wednesday, April 28, 2010

College Forward assists first-generation college-bound high-schoolers

My partner and I attended a fundraiser this month for the organization, College Forward. Since 2003, this regional effort has helped high school students attend college as first-generation college students. In AISD, the program is available in Travis, Reagan, LBJ and Crockett high schools.

The program is effective largely because of the one-on-one support provided by coaches who assist students in accessing financial aid resources and going through the testing and application processes for college. We met a Crockett HS senior who was a finalist for a Gates scholarship, which would give her a tuition and housing grant for all four years of college at Baylor. We are rooting for her! And so is her coach, a recent college grad who is working at College Forward as part of an Americorps program. We commend her, too!

To qualify, students who would represent the first generation in their family to attend college, who have financial need and who rank in the top 60% of their class can apply to the College Forward program as juniors in high school. Beyond Austin, College Forward is also available at Del Valle HS, Georgetown HS, Hays and Lehman HS, Manor HS, Connally HS and Stony Point HS.

Check them out at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Youth poets slam off

Check this out. I recommend these poets.

An announcement from the Texas Youth Word Collective:

Presented by the Texas Youth Word Collective

EVENT: They Speak Youth Poetry Slam Off Finals
DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 10th, 2010, 6pm
ADMISSION: $10 cover, $5 students with i.d., under 5 free
PLACE: The Independent (Corner of East 5th & Brushy Street, just east of I-35)
Austin, Texas 78702
CONTACTS: Dr. Sheila Siobhan (512) 422-6653, Executive Director
Tova Charles (514) 554-3720, Project Coordinator

The Chinese consider the number 8 to be a lucky number, signifying sudden fortune, prosperity. This is our 8th season, and April 10th, the 8th Austin youth poetry slam team will be chosen to go to the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. HBO will be returning to Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival again this year to film another eight part series. The field is set and the competitors are hyped and ready to go. Words will be flung with intensity, vigor, and purpose. No subject will go unscathed.

Thirteen participants from as close as next door and as far as San Antonio, from as young as 14 and as old (yeah) as 19, will compete for four spots that will represent our fair city in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. This year’s group of finalists includes:

Zuri Henderson (Texas Empowerment Academy)
Amber Doyle (Texas Empowerment Academy)
Zach Caballero (Hendrickson H.S.)
Devonte Sanders (Lanier H.S.)
Gus Crowder (Travis H.S.)
Darrion “Chi-Town” Borders (Lanier H.S. Grad)
Sheenika “DeLight” Medard (Hutto H.S.)
Kellee Greenwood (Wagner H.S., San Antonio)
Cara Wallace (James Madison H.S., San Antonio)
Shanitria Harris (Texas State University)
Demetriel Graham (Texas State University)
Chris Chrown (Central Texas College, Killeen)
La’Darius “Tank” Jackson (Central Texas College, Killeen)

Most importantly, the audience will experience the best spoken word this year’s youth have to offer. You will laugh, cry, gasp. Above all, these young people will make you rejoice in what the future holds, both for them and for us. This, like many things in this era, will be epic. In addition to the youth poets, there will be musical performances including the lead vocalist for Blacklisted Individuals, Dashade Moonbeam and the vocal stylings of San Antonio’s duo Vocab and Digh, as well as poetry by Ms. Ebony Stewart (Neo Soul Slam Team Member), and of course our resident DJ F. Scott.

So, we invite you to help us launch this new energetic group of young writers and performers on our 8th voyage to Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival 2010. Please come for a night of stirring, thought-provoking poetry and see what all the excitement is about!

This project is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


This is a poster filled in by one of the students at Eastside Memorial HS during our lunch-hour table there last week. At first, when he was invited to fill in the blank, he said "Drugs! I'd rather buy drugs than war. ha ha." But, then he looked at our penny poll and other materials and became pensive. He hung out for a while at the table. Then, he crossed out the D that he had started and wrote the other things above.