Exposure to Different Surroundings, Mentors Lead to Success

He was one of 19 African American students in a high school of 900. One of four African American students in a college student body. He taught in inner-city Chicago where students who lived only a few miles from downtown had never seen it. Madison College President Dr. Jack Daniels III attributes these personal experiences to his dedication in providing exposure and helping students see their own path to post-secondary education and success.

On Feb. 9, 2017, Dr. Daniels addressed the Wisconsin National Guard on the topic of black history. He reflected on these personal experiences and credited his own successes to the many mentors he has had over his early adult life who were committed to his success. Addressing the educational crisis among African American males, he reaffirmed the need to provide exposure to areas and people beyond current surroundings as well as provide mentors and academic support.

“[When I was a teacher in Chicago] I made a commitment to expose students to different environments and situations, and facilitate learning so my students would have options for their futures. We would go on a field trip once a quarter — to the symphony, one of the museums in Chicago, even to a park in a different area of the city,” Dr. Daniels said. “We need to create opportunities for K-12 students to broaden their perspectives, minimize disparities, and create and sustain a college-going culture.”

Mentoring is key to helping solve this crisis: How can you mentor a child or young adult? “It is everyone’s job to establish a college-going culture,” Dr. Daniels added.

The Scholars of Promise program launching this fall focuses on eliminating the financial barrier to attend Madison College. The requirements for this program set attainable expectations so a pathway to student success is established. “Our expectations need to match where the student needs to be when they leave Madison College and go to a university or enter the job market,” he said.

As we move past the month of February and its 28 days, consider how you can make an active commitment to making a difference. Celebration of the contributions of African Americans should not be limited to a month, but recognized throughout the year.