The families and friends of the participants of Florida A&M University’s Black Male College Explorers Program gathered inside the cafeteria of FAMU Developmental Research School for their end-of-summer award ceremony on June 30.
This year, FAMU’s Black Male College Explorers Program, an annual summer program that focuses on preventing young black males from dropping out of school and increasing their chances of earning college degrees, ended its 30-day program with a ceremony to award some of its participants like Armani Payne.
“I was introduced to this program in seventh grade and since then I have continued to come back every year,” said Payne, 17. “These teachers and mentors have aided me throughout the years and encouraged me to keep going even when I was at my lowest.”
According to Payne, he used to be an average student. He completed mediocre work. “I used to be the student who didn’t really care about his work,” said Payne. “This program made me realize that I need to stay on top of my work and be the best student I can be.”
Payne mentioned that he plans to apply to Florida A&M University for college, to major in graphic design.
“I’m so proud of Armani, as well as the rest of the young men who participate in this program,” said Victor Chrispin, a technology teacher for the BMCE program. “I used to be a participant in this program and I truly believe it (BMCE) saved my life. It’s important for young black males to experience something positive like this in their lives to help stimulate their minds and push them to be the best versions of themselves.”
The award ceremony was full of student entertainment in the form of songs, poems and dances. However, an onstage skit about black excellence given by seven members of the BMCE brought everyone to their feet in a roar of applause.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Errol Wilson, the acting director of BMCEP, distributed various awards to the winning members of the program including Payne, who went on to receive the Most Outstanding Overall Achiever Award.
“Honestly, I couldn’t have been prouder to award these young men, today,” said Wilson. “For the entire month of June, we have been working with these young black males who are, unfortunately, targeted in negative ways on a daily basis. We hope that these awards serve as a reminder for our participants to remember what they have learned here and to use their knowledge as a roadmap to success beyond high school.”
To learn more about FAMU’s Black Male College Explorers program, visit www.famu.edu/BlackMalesCollege or email firstname.lastname@example.org.