Gearing up for HBCU College Expo

Published 6:55 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

This week, Suffolk Public School students will have an opportunity to learn about Historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

Access College Foundation will hold its HBCU College Expo from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, at Kings Fork High School. Alongside various resources for students to gain while learning about which HBCUs they would like to attend, there will also be vendors, door prizes and entertainment for event attendees. Kings Fork High School Access Counselor Adrienne Miller says that despite being set at KFHS, the expo has reached out to the whole SPS district as well as school communities beyond.

“ … it’s not just King’s Fork students, it’s not just Nansemond River, but it’s been out to the district. It’s out in Portsmouth … Southampton, Franklin, Surry, Smithfield, so I’m looking for a great showing,” Miller said. “And past alumni are welcome to come because their schools will be here, so they’ll be there obviously paying homage to their schools as well. So, I’m excited!” 


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Among other HBCUs in attendance will include Norfolk State University, Hampton University, and Virginia State University. On the types of resources and opportunities the expo will provide students ahead of their college careers, Miller says that vendors and military branches have also been invited to participate. Miller talked about the importance of military representatives sharing their experiences with students before making future decisions as young adults.

“ … a lot of my representatives actually went to HBCUs and are now, some of them are officers in the military. So it also gives them the opportunity to talk about experiences after they graduate … While in the military, they can still choose and go to HBCU as well,” Miller said. “So I love that because it’s about representation. That yes, ‘I can go to college after four years, I can apply for officer training school and now I’m an officer,’ in whatever that particular genre that they choose. Or they can go straight in and still take classes and get their degrees while they’re in the military while the military is paying for it.”

Miller also noted that all nine members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as the “Divine Nine,” have each been invited to talk to students about the black Greek organizations as well as mentorships they have for college students. Likewise, the expo will feature Kings Fork High School ensembles showcasing their talent during the expo. Alongside these efforts to educate students on HBCUs, Miller expressed wanting to pay homage through these efforts.

“I am a two-time HBCU graduate, so I always like to also just educate so a lot of students will know what [they are]. They were established before the Civil Rights Act and mainly because we were not allowed into PWIs (predominantly white institutions). So this was started to battle some of the inequality due to that fact at that time,” Miller said. “Since then, they have grown in numbers, there are several. And of course, now, students have options to go where they want to go, however, I still think it is important that we remember the ‘why,’ the ‘how,’ and the growth that has taken off since then.”

On what she hopes attendees will take away from the expo, Miller emphasized “information.”

“Just lots and lots of information. I’m hoping that someone can leave and say, ‘Oh I didn’t know that,’ or they’re learning something new … I’m hoping they’ll come away with just lots and lots of information or something past going to a game or going to homecoming … Like I said, the ‘why’ and then where we are now. The growth that has happened since these people that started these institutions many years ago and see where they are now.”