BENTLEYVILLE, OH — What looked like a typical summer cookout in Northeast Ohio was serving more than burgers and hot dogs – the group was also serving opportunity for students heading to college in the fall.
“We do this because we believe in our community and supporting our community,” said Anthony Brown, President of the Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association.
Hundreds of people got together at the South Chagrin Reservation on Sunday to celebrate students heading to college in the fall – specifically, historically black colleges and universities.
The Cleveland Council of the Black Colleges Alumni Association hosted the send-off. It gives students a chance to meet others in the HBCU network so they have a support system to fall back on.
“It's all part of the family so we want to always let students know we welcome you to your new home,” Brown said.
Some of the students come from a long line of HBCU alumni.
"My mom went to an HBCU, my sister's going to one now and they're just having a great time,” said Sarah Walton, an incoming freshman at Hampton University.
Others are the first in their family to go to college.
"Many of our students are first time and we want to give them all the support, the love, the encouragement to send them on their way,” Brown said.
Students who attended Sunday got trunks full of dorm essentials. Jermyn Brock, Jr. got an even bigger surprise: a scholarship.
"So not only did you get the scholarship 2018, we were so impressed, we're giving it to you again,” Brown told Brock Jr.
Brock Jr., a sophomore at Lane College in Tennessee, is studying criminal justice and said he wants to become an FBI agent.