HBCU College Fair attracts hundreds of high school students in Fayetteville

Anthony Wilson Image
Sunday, April 23, 2023
HBCU College Fair attracts hundreds of high schoolers in Fayetteville
Organizers touted small class sizes, a close-knit culture and other positive advantages as part of the HBCU experience.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Princess Ross, a junior at 71st High School in Fayetteville, plans to attend NC State. But she's also curious about college life where she won't be part of a minority group on campus.

"We don't talk about it much at school, so I came out here to learn more about it," she said while attending Saturday's HBCU College Fair. Her aunt, a Bennett College graduate, came along.

"Because I've been telling her that I know what college I'm going to, She was like, 'There's more colleges out there. You might change your major,' and all of that," said Ross.

So Ross joined hundreds of other students organizers welcomed to the fair. Mark Yarboro of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity said the concept originated locally after a John Wesley Methodist Church men's group arranged the first HBCU college fair for Cumberland County students.

"It outgrew that group, and the Omegas, Beta Chi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, took it on three years ago. And this is our sixth annual college fair," Yarboro said before sharing the advantages offered to the students.

"Academic opportunities that HBCUs have to offer, and also the social possibilities of going to those schools. School is more than just academics. You can get the social aspect, with smaller class sizes, leadership opportunities, and this type of thing," Yarboro added. "Fraternities, sororities, sense of community. There's nothing like an HBCU homecoming."

Yarboro is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University who advocated for his alma mater along with many other HBCUs with representatives at Saturday's fair.

"You've got North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Vorhees. You've got Grambling, you've got Tuskegee and several others. Paine College, Shaw University," he said. "You have the military services that are here. A number of nonprofits. and scholarship money that's here that you can learn about. And you don't have to go to an HBCU to apply for this scholarship money."

That's a plus for students like Ross, who plans to work as an American Sign Language translator.

"The people here, they're really nice. And they have a lot to offer," she said while preparing for conversations with more advocates for HBCUs.