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Conference Encourages Leadership Among African-American Students

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“You’re not going to leave this world taking back the very dreams and potential that God has buried inside of you.”

Those words from a motivational speaker were designed to give listeners a little push at the African American Student Leadership Conference. More than 500 students and parents from the Sacramento City Unified School District gathered at the confab at CSU, Sacramento.

Among the students was 14-year-old high school freshman Malik Hudson. “I’m doing very well in school actually,” he said. “I’m doing great. It’s fun because I learn a lot of new things.”

He’s also aware many African-Americans students lag behind white and Asian students. “I think they just need to try to little harder,” Hudson said. “I sit around them all the time they’re very smart.”

Malik’s parents Joe and Dana Hudson took the day off from work to come to the conference with their son. They say parents can help their children by working harder to keep them focused on academics.

“The schools are going to do what they do,” said Joe Hudson. “You have to work with the kids. You have to work with your schools, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the parent. We’re our child’s first teacher.”

Dana Hudson said her job includes setting up family rules. “We really say to him do your homework first,” she said. “Sometimes when we’re not there, he wants to watch television, but he knows when we get home, we’re going to be asking questions about that homework.”

She explained there also has to be a consequence if Malik doesn’t do his homework. “He likes to socialize with his friends. So, he knows that can get taken away,” she said. “There have been times when there has been a problem. And I go up to the school and I check in with his teacher.”

In his defense, Malik pointed out, “Everybody slips. We’re all human.” He also admitted occasionally teachers can be a problem. “Sometimes I do feel like they have some prejudice toward me or African-American students in the class. And you can feel like the way they talk to you.”

But he added students can’t use a conflict with a teacher as a reason for not doing their school work. “You’ve got to prove them wrong by doing your work and showing you’re capable.”

Right now, he attends Sacramento’s School of Engineering and Sciences, where he tutors other classmates who need help with math and engineering classes.

He wants to be an architect and hopes other African-American will also get on the path to academic success. He said, “I hope they see that going to college is not an easy thing and if they’re going to follow their dreams they’re going to have to work really hard.”

The day-long leadership conference included workshops for students and parents focusing on relationships with family, friends and teachers, life struggles, college and how to set goals and following their dreams.

SOURCE: News 10

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Written by Symphony

April 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm

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