‘Usher’s New Look Takes First Out-of-State College Tour’ by UNL Atlanta Alum, Vanecia Thompson

Vanecia Thompson

Twenty-three rising 10th through 12th grade students went on a college tour visiting Auburn University and Tuskegee University last month. The trip was the first time the Atlanta chapter of the organization had an out-of-state trip. It was also the first time many of the students visited any college.

“Aside from it being a good bonding opportunity, it was also an opportunity to see our students be great leaders in the way they conduct themselves miles and miles away from their parents,” said Thomas Springer Jr., Atlanta Program Coordinator.

The first stop after the two-hour drive to Alabama was Auburn University where students had an official campus tour and admissions information session. On the walking tour, students learned the history and traditions of the school including why Auburn is known as the Tigers and War Eagle.

While on campus, students also had a question and answer session with the Office of University Scholarships, ate lunch in Auburn’s new Wellness Kitchen and toured the athletic facilities.

“I wouldn’t have considered Auburn as a school before I took the tour,” said Brandy McDonald, a rising junior at Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School.

The next stop after Auburn was the historic Tuskegee University. Students toured the campus and had an information session in the University Chapel.

“I didn’t know they had the historic black president buried on their school grounds,” said Melvin Taylor, rising 10th grader at Ronald E. McNair High School.

Booker T. Washington, the historically black college and university’s first president, is buried just feet away from the chapel.

Students who attend Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta used the opportunity to take pictures with the original monument of Washington on Tuskegee’s campus.

“My favorite part about today was the food and the vibe that the students at Tuskegee and Auburn University gave off,” said Alex Mitchell, rising 11th grader at DM Therrell High School. “I learned a lot of steps to applying to college and I really think they well help me in the future.”

After each section of the trip, the students shared their own Usher’s New Look tradition by giving nicknames to each tour guide and representative.

“The more college tours I go on, the more choices I’ll have about what school I want to go to and where it’s at based on location, my major and how its going to affect the career I want to have in the future,” said McDonald.

The tours were part of “camp week” where each day focused on one of four New Look pillars—talent, education, career and service. Springer hopes to take the group on a college tour twice a year, including an Ivy League school in the spring.

“We’re really looking forward to exposing them to each opportunity at each type of college,” said Springer.