Students, chaperones reflect on PSUSD’s first HBCU tour

Students and chaperones who attended the Palm Springs Unified School District’s (PSUSD) first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) tour gave a presentation to the Board of Education Tuesday evening showing highlights of the trip.

Driving the news: Forty students applied, and 12 boys and 12 girls from the district, including nine from Palm Springs High School, were selected for the trip. They toured Howard, Hampton, Norfolk, and Morgan State as well as monuments, museums, and historic locations.

Big impact: The students that spoke at the meeting and in videos in the presentation all emphasized the impact the trip had on them. It’s one thing to learn about history from a textbook, but they expressed awe remembering when they stood in the place where Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Inspiration: One student wrote a poem about the experience and recited it to the board:

  • “I, for once, had a space where I belong, a space where I felt nothing could go wrong. In the end, we grew, we learned to love the black, the black that is seen as threatening. I am more than my black skin.” — Alessia Shaw, Cathedral City High School sophomore

Board support: Multiple board members spoke up about how impressed they were with the students and their takeaways from the trip. Board members appeared ready to expand the program. 

  • “We will do whatever we have to do to get all the kids that apply to go on the next trip. Whether it’s raising money or if I have to go knock on doors myself, we’ll do whatever it takes. It’s such an amazing thing you can just see how the kids light up, it’s incredible.” — Timothy Wood, PSUSD board member

What’s next: PSUSD Superintendent Dr. Mike Swize said he has asked Dr. Nicole Crawford, the coordinator of diversity and racial equity for the district, to put together a plan for a tour of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). A tour of HSI colleges and universities could be coming as soon as next school year.

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