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Black College Expo Helps Elevate Black Excellence 

Summary: Seattle Public Schools students from across the district flocked to the 5th Annual Seattle Black College Expo at Renton High School on Nov. 5.  

Positive Pursuit: Black College Expo Helps Elevate Black Excellence  

Seattle Public Schools students from across the district flocked to the 5th Annual Seattle Black College Expo at Renton High School on Nov. 5.  

Powered by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF), the event housed more than 30 two-year and four-year colleges and universities – including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and trade schools.  

The district’s strategic plan is laser focused on supporting students of color who are furthest away from educational justice, beginning with African American boys and teens. Helping Black and brown students gain access to college is one way of supporting that plan. 

Nichelle Page is a project manager for the Office of African American Male Achievement with a focus on high school transition success. Page has spent the past year working to unite Black Student Union (BSU) members and advisors from SPS high schools across to establish a cohesive unit across the district. She played a pivotal role in getting students to the college fair. 

“Giving all students – especially Black students – the chance to go to an HBCU event … was affirming for them to see Black educators and SPS leaders like Dr. [Mia] Williams and Dr. [Keisha] Scarlett be present to support, praise, and celebrate our youth,” Page said.  

Nicole Petty co-advises the Rainier Beach BSU alongside Bijan Jackson and Crystal Alexander. The school had nearly 25 students attend the Expo. Many of them were not seniors but were excited about the opportunity to learn about HBCUs. Petty said it was great for students to get access to HBCUs, especially since there are none on the West Coast. 

“The Black College Expo was a celebration for our young, Black scholars in their pursuit of higher education,” Petty said. 

A few Rainier Beach students and several others from SPS high schools received on-the-spot acceptance letters and scholarships from HBCUs in Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. 

“It was great for our students to have on-site admissions and scholarships,” Petty said. “We were grateful for the opportunity to bring our BSU and would absolutely participate in the years to come.” 

NCRF has awarded over $1.5 billion in scholarships, helped more than 1,500 athletes get athletic scholarships, and placed thousands of students in internships and careers. The organization is on a mission to close the gap in educational achievement, workforce, and economic disparities.  

A group of five men stand together at the expo event
A group of four women stand together at the expo event
Two students stand together one with a banner and scholarship letter the other with a thumbs up