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A Summit for Students BY Students

By Stephen Barker
March 14, 2023

For the second year in a row, we are bringing together Atlanta Public Schools and South Fulton juniors and seniors this week for our annual Atlanta Student Summit at Clayton State University. The summit is a high-energy, day-long event featuring workshops, an opportunity fair featuring booths from various Georgia postsecondary institutions and community partners, and students will be presented with awards, great music, and plenty of prizes.

At this year’s summit, we assembled a committee of highly motivated OneGoal Fellows to provide their input, help set up, and take on leadership roles during the day-long event. As members of the planning committee, these students got a chance to meet and work with other students at different high schools, gain experience in running a large event, add an accomplishment for job applications and resumes, and have their names published in the program for the event.

“We view this as an opportunity for our Fellows to engage fully, so their voices must be part of the planning process,” said OneGoal Metro Atlanta Manager of Postsecondary Support Makayla Mincey. “They’ve given input on workshops, promoted attendance at their schools, created engagement activities to help the theme come alive, and will even serve as emcees on the big day. This student piece in planning is essential to make sure the summit is a fun and catalytic event for Fellows!”

We asked a handful of the committee members about their greatest postsecondary aspirations, what they view as the most significant barriers to achieving those aspirations, and what they hope the students in Metro Atlanta will take away from this year’s Student Summit.

Saku Hurst – Y2 South Atlanta High School

“I want to attend a division one school or a prestigious medical school like Morehouse. I can achieve this by diligently applying and working hard in class now. Two big barriers students face in their postsecondary journeys are financial and social problems. I hope my peers learn tips on how to get noticed by colleges.”

Tiarra Collins – Y1 Frederick Douglass High School

“I am going to go into the Air Force as a reserve while attending a 4-year university. I know for a fact some of the barriers would be time management, budgeting, and prioritizing. OneGoal has helped with this by providing training modules to help give different strategies that could help with some of these things. I’d love for everyone at the summit this year to discover that OneGoal isn’t just here for college opportunities, it’s also here to build connections and help you with what you would like to do.”

Jamiya Robinson – Y2 Frederick Douglass High School

“My greatest postsecondary aspiration is to get into college and find a major that will allow me to support myself financially. I’d say that’s my main goal, to be financially comfortable. One barrier is not knowing where you want to go after high school. Another barrier is not being financially stable enough to pursue an education. The last barrier I know of is not being motivated or mentally capable of fulfilling your postsecondary aspirations. I hope the students who attend gain an understanding of what they want to pursue during this year’s summit.”

RanDaijah Price – Y1 Benjamin E. Mays High School

“My greatest postsecondary aspiration would be to earn my Ph.D. and become an oncologist. It’s been my dream since I was young to help those with cancer, as my own family was afflicted by it. I never want families to go through such pain, so I work hard every day, and I talk with my OneGoal advisor about the best plan of action to take and the skills I need to achieve this goal. I’m going to graduate high school, get accepted into one of my dream colleges, and then go through all the years of schooling. Then I’ll finally be able to help those in need, like the doctors that helped my family. I feel like the biggest barrier students face after high school when trying to achieve their educational goals is the shock of higher education. Some students are so used to high school standards that they never really grow out of it, and when it’s time to leave, they’re unprepared and have set themselves up for failure. Another barrier would be that not a lot of schools offer classes centered on college success, like OneGoal. These classes and programs are extremely helpful for postsecondary planning, pathway completion, college scholarships, etc. There are three things I hope that other OneGoal Fellows learn at this year’s Student Summit. The first thing is that they learn to come outside of their box and meet new people. I know that it can be awkward and frightening, but it’s something you’ll never forget if you just give it a chance. Second, I hope they gain knowledge about the careers they are interested in, thinking about, or just hearing about for the first time. Lastly, I hope they learn how important the OneGoal program is as a whole. It brings these summits, learning opportunities on the OneGoal website, scholarships, and more. Even if they gain just one thing from this experience, I hope it’s meaningful!”

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