The student experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities is like no other. And for La-Donia Jefferies, keeping the experience alive for the next generation of students was important. Jefferies is the author of “Homecoming,” an animated children’s book.
Growing up, Jefferies was exposed to HBCUs starting from the age of 3. Her mother was employed full time as a professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her father was a graduate of the university.
So Jefferies was very familiar with North Carolina A&T. As a toddler she attended the Early Childhood Development Lab, which was a preschool program located on NCA&T’s campus while her mother worked.
Jefferies knew at an early age that she wanted to attend an HBCU. And following in her parents’ footsteps Jefferies attended North Carolina A&T along with Fort Valley State University.
“There is a program called Gamsec that North Carolina A&T State University had and it was kinda a part of the UNC college system so what would happen is I would come on Saturday mornings and I would, you know, take these college classes right and really get introduced to what it was like to be on a college campus, taking English or taking math. They had us doing different science experiments in actual labs on Saturdays,” Jeffries told The Famuan earlier this week.
“That was also helpful in kind of determining my decision of attending an HBCU because I just had so much exposure of being on campus and different parts of campus before I was even in high school,” she added.
After having children, Jefferies was inspired to share her family’s experience of attending HBCU homecomings by writing a book that she could share with families around the world.
“I have two little girls. They’re 6 and 3 now and I wanted to showcase women as leaders,” Jefferies said.
The book “Homecoming” walks you through what it feels like to step foot on an HBCU campus during homecoming. From the football game, tailgating and even the half-time show, the book perfectly depicts what an HBCU homecoming looks and feels like.
The book also highlights the significance of Greek life and Greek unity at HBCUs. Jefferies said it was important as she is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and her husband is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
In an article published by The Charlotte Post, Jefferies explained why she included certain details in the book.
“It says, ‘There is a statue of an African American astronaut in front of the building where Mommy took classes to become an engineer,’” Jefferies said, reading an excerpt from the book. “‘We see a bulldog statue by the building where Daddy took classes to start his veterinary business career.’ I put that in the book because I wanted to encourage kids to have STEM careers. It’s important for kids to learn about science, love science and be in the STEM field,” Jefferies said.
Jefferies plans to use “Homecoming” as a starting point to create a series of children’s books to introduce kids to HBCUs and all that they have to offer.
“I’m working with an illustrator, so projects just take time. So hopefully it will be out sooner than later but don’t have a date yet,” Jefferies said.