Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Thank you Pinellas County Schools Panelists

Foundation for Ensuring Access and EquityOn Saturday, February 27, 2021, we hosted a special college planning session for Pinellas County Schools’ students and parents. With our focus primarily on exposing middle school students to the importance of developing 7-year middle school through high school college-bound plans, we hosted panels of 8th graders, 11th graders, and parents who shared their experiences and the impact of their cohort participation across areas of academics, leadership, and service.

We are appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Lewis Brinson, Pinellas County Schools Minority Achievement Officer, who sponsored the session and those students and parents who volunteered to serve on our panels. The panels, together with comments from Dr. Lois McKee, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School Counselor, and our guest speaker, cohort alumna Sydney Soskin, a 2020 graduate of the St. Petersburg High School IB Program and current University of Chicago student, were both informative and inspiring.

Researching Colleges and Programs

Researching colleges and programs occurs on multiple levels. 8th – 10th graders are researching colleges and programs to assist in guiding the selection of high schools, programs, clubs, activities, and coursework. 11th graders are narrowing college lists based on selectivity and affordability while high school seniors are using their research to identify the right fit of colleges and programs as they compare financial aid award letters.

To assist students in more deeply understanding the array of college options and scholarship opportunities currently being researched, cohort alumni, currently attending college, will share their experiences during this month’s cohort sessions.

Grades 9 – 10

College Panel: Cohort alumni representing HBCUs, Liberal Arts Colleges, Research Universities, Test Optional Schools, Cooperative Education Programs, Dual Degree Programs, and Honors Colleges will share their experiences, including how they selected their programs, the type of grades, clubs, and activities during high school that made them competitive candidates for being offered admission to their programs, the type of institutional and private scholarships they received, and engage in a candid discussion of the impact of choices made as a high school 9th and 10th graders on their college and scholarship trajectories.

Our panelists includes a MC Lyte Hip Hop Sisters Scholar, Posse Scholar, Torch Scholar, and Cheatham-White Scholar. After a Q&A with our panelists, students will move into their normal breakout rooms to discuss their monthly presentations. Parents are encouraged to attend.

Grades 11 – 12

College Panel: Our current college interns will be joined by cohort alumni to share their experiences at HBCUs, Liberal Arts Colleges, Research Universities, Cooperative Education Programs, and Honors Colleges. Students will share some of the critically important decisions made as second semester high school juniors and the importance of the timeline regarding testing, finalizing college lists, researching scholarships, taking advantage of Fly-in/Diversity Weekend opportunities, and the amount of time devoted to creating well written essays.

We encourage students to prepare their questions in advance. Following the panel discussions, we will host our normal 11th grade discussion groups. Our 12th grade discussion groups with Mr. and Mrs. Williams will be joined by college students to continue the Q&A from the panel discussion. Parents are encouraged to attend.


Developing a Cohort Video: Tenth grader, Kierra H., from our Florence School District 3 cohort is demonstrating leadership, service, and great creativity. Kierra has solicited the support of cohort students in South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to develop a video through which students share their cohort experiences and encourage other students to “Own the Process.” Kierra has the support of her guidance counselors and Florence School District 3 Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Laura Hickson. Other cohort students are developing podcasts and video editing, as they use their talents to showcase an array of leadership skills and engage in meaningful community service in response to the question, “What is your cause?”

Congratulations: Congratulations to cohort students who are finalists for the North Carolina A&T Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships; and for the Ron Brown Scholarship.

Mid-year Assessments: At the heart of our program is the partnership between our advisors and families. We have had great meetings during which we have responded to parent/student questions, provided feedback as to student progress, and provided recommendations as to actions that students may take to further increase their competitiveness as a college/scholarship applicant. After completing the January Module: Mid-year Assessment, students or parents should email us with preferred meeting days/times. Meetings are currently being scheduled for March 6, 20, and 27; and April 3, 17, and 24 between the hours of 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

ACT/SAT Testing: In part, due to COVID-19 related cancellations of SAT and ACT testing dates, many colleges will continue to be test optional or test blind in 2021 and 2022. However, many merit-based scholarships will continue to require submission of SAT or ACT scores. High school juniors who plan to submit test scores, should develop a plan to achieve their target ACT scores by the June 12th testing date. Juniors focusing on the SAT should plan to achieve their highest scores by the June 5th testing date. High school sophomores should consider taking the June exam to get their baseline score to guide their junior-year course taking and exam preparation.

Report Cards and Transcripts: Please submit your first semester report cards and transcripts.

FREE College Fair: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 5:00 pm (EST): Over 250 colleges will be represented.

Arizona State College Watch Party: March 4, 2021, 6:00 pm (MT).

March Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

Florence School District 3 March Sessions (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): (Click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Tuesday/Thursday; March 2 – 25.

March 13, 2021 (9:00 am – 11:00 am): 9th and 10th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). College Panel Discussion; following which, students will present their February final presentations in their Discussion Group.

March 13, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm): 11th and 12th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). High School Senior Panel Discussion; College Panel Discussion; following which, juniors will present their January final presentations in their Discussion Group.

Join a Cohort

College admissions is more competitive than ever. NYU received an unprecedented 100,000 applications. Now is the time, particularly for high school juniors, to join our program as the second semester is a critical time to finalize the body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, leadership, and service) that will be represented in your college applications.

ASA Guide Kappa League Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas:

Atlanta-area and National Cohort: Contact Mychal-David Wynn:

Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer:

Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor:

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…