March 1, 2022

Welcome to the College Cohort News
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

We are excited to introduce student-driven content through our new “College Cohort News.” While I will continue to provide insight into pertinent actions to be taken by students in grades 9 – 12 each month, most of the newsletter content will be developed by students for students. This is part of our continuing focus on allowing opportunities for students to engage in the type of activities that colleges and scholarship providers are assessing in making their college admission and scholarship decisions:

  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Gifts and Talents
  • Community Engagement, and
  • Community Impact

While the primary student contributors will be members of our youth leadership board, we are seeking contributions from our college interns, current and former students, parents, and guest contributors to provide relevant and informative content.

The Undebatable Relatables
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

The Undebatable Relatables is a student-developed podcast. The brainchild of Pinellas County Schools’ ninth grader, Jocelyn L. (who also developed the artwork), the podcast is a collaborative effort of Pinellas County Schools’ ninth graders, Jocelyne, Anna, and Josiah (JoJo). The podcast provides informative content by 3 exceptional students, all of whom serve on our youth leadership board.

Episode 1: Why Are We Here?: Jocelyne, Anna, and JoJo share their cohort experiences and how they are using the information to assist their families in avoiding student loan debt and expanding their own college access. They candidly share their initial confusion as middle school students regarding college and careers; how they discovered their gifts and talents; and how they have benefitted by their involvement with college-bound students holding similar aspirations, while being supported and guided by college students serving as mentors and advisers.

Episode 2: Relationships Romatic? Nah… Friendships!: In episode 2, Jocelyne, Anna, and JoJo share their thoughts regarding the importance of friendships and social relationships. They provide tips and strategies for avoiding conflicts and developing healthy relationships. They share their thoughts regarding the forced COVID-19 quarantine and its impact on relationships and the essential nature of supportive human contact. They also share their experiences in making their first friends in high school.

I am intrigued by their content and look forward to the amazing body of work they develop throughout high school as they continue to expand the national, and even international outreach of their podcast.

Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program (Deadline Approaching)
Jocelyne L. (St. Petersburg, FL) 

I am a Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar. Being part of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program has been incredibly beneficial and has opened many doors. I have been introduced to interesting programs, helpful camps, and educational classes. I have received incredible support from my JKCYS advisors and I have developed a close connection with peers who share similar interests and aspirations. The program surrounds students with talented and gifted scholars in an encouraging environment supported by mentors and educators. This program not only benefits students throughout their high school years, but introduces students to a community and creates skills that will assist you in the future. I encourage you to apply.

To be considered for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program, the applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Grade level: Currently in 7th grade and/or entering 8th grade in the fall of 2022.
  • Academics: Earned all As and Bs in core academic subjects since beginning of 6th grade.
  • Financial Need: Demonstrate unmet financial need. We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. During the selection process, the Foundation will conduct a full financial review which will take into account all income and assets of the student and the student’s parents. The median family income of last year’s entering cohort of Cooke Young Scholars was approximately $40,000.
  • Location: Permanently reside in the United States and plan to attend high school in the U.S.

Your completed application must be submitted online by 11:59 pm in your local time zone no later than May 9, 2022. This includes all completed sections of the online application, your report cards that must be uploaded to your application, completed forms by your parent(s)/guardian(s), and submitted recommendation forms by your recommenders. Click here for full application guidelines and requirements.

In addition to the Young Scholars Program, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation provides college scholarships for both first-time college students and transfer students.

Mid-year Assessments
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

We have wrapped up our mid-year assessments and have had great meetings with parents and students. Many students left the assessments with clear action plans for the second semester, together with a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses currently reflected in their body of work. We encourage high school juniors to stay focused on a very aggressive second semester timeline so that you finalize your college and scholarship lists by June 1. You will then be able to make the important shift to focusing on developing essays that reflect a deep understanding of the mission, vision, and core values of the colleges and scholarship programs to which you will apply. 

March Discussion Groups
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

We appreciate the efforts of students in grades 9 – 11 who have submitted their March presentations. We are looking forward to robust small group discussions at our March 12 session. The college and scholarship research in which students are currently engaged represents the purpose of the academic, leadership, and community service goals that students have been pursuing. Whether a student’s college aspirations are MIT or North Carolina A&T; a liberal arts college like Williams College or a research university like the University of Georgia; students must engage in authentic conversations about their college aspirations and the body of work they are intentionally developing to make themselves competitive candidates for being offered admission to their dream schools. 

Cumberland County Schools (NC)
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

I was honored to have been invited as one of the guest speakers for the Cumberland County Schools Black History Month Speaker Series. I had a wonderful time and appreciate the opportunity to have had my community presentation live streamed through Facebook Live. The theme, “Resilient Students and Families Overcoming the Odds,” was a perfect opportunity for me to share the stories of our resilient cohort students and college interns. Many of the 8th graders with whom I spoke at Douglas Byrd Middle School and Lewis Chapel Middle School were inspired by their examples and may very well be joining our program.

The 8th graders with whom I spoke will be making important decisions regarding their choice of high school and classes for the 2022-23 school year so I sent each interested student a copy of my college planning quick guide for high school students. The book will to provide a context for the important college planning conversations in which they will be engaging. Hopefully, they will  “Own the Process” and become part of our 2022-23 9th – 10th grade cohort.

I am deeply appreciative of Cumberland County Schools, Superintendent, Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr.; Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Stacey Wilson-Norman; Associate Superintendent of Communications and Community Engagement, Dr. Lindsay A. Whitley; Integrated Academic & Behavior Facilitator for K-12 Instructional Programs, Jovan Denaut; and the many people in the district and at the schools who extended such great hospitality.

Facebook Postings…

We post important content regularly to our College Planning Cohort Facebook Page. Please ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ our page so that you stay up to date on the latest in college planning news.

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Cohort Meeting: The second Saturday of each month.
March 12, 2022, 10:00 am – Noon: Monthly Cohort Session for participating students in graders 9th – 11th (click here to register; Meeting ID: 884 7893 8939). Following a panel discussion of current college students, students will present their March presentations in their Discussion Groups. Note: The session is only opened to registered students and parents. Email to request a Guest Pass.

Florence School District 3 Writing Sessions – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm — Any Grade (click here to register; Meeting ID 892 5369 6183) Monday and Wednesday.

Florence School District 3 Cohort Sessions – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm — 9th – 12th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID 868 3691 5004) Tuesday and Thursday.  

Summer Boot Camps…
Jocelyne L. (St. Petersburg, FL) 

I cannot express how much I encourage every middle school student to attend the boot camp. Each year since the summer prior to entering the 6th grade, I have attended the College Planning Boot Camp. It surprises me just how much I have actually learned from the program and how much the alumni and mentors have done for me. I joined the cohort itself once I was in eighth grade along with a group of outstanding students around my age that I began working with. Now, as a high school freshman, I am still an active student of the cohort and I serve as the President of the Youth Leadership Board. This program has impacted my life far more than I expected and I am glad that I found it that one fateful night in the Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School newsletter!

I am also proud to be part of a collaborative effort to produce an introductory video of the program and to say that I am grateful for the opportunity to work with students from throughout the country and to have a meaningful community impact for a program that has done so much for us. Click here to check out the video…

Monday – Thursday; June 6 – 9, 2022: (Grades 6 – 8) from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm daily. At this time, planned sessions are all virtual. Click here to register for the Middle School Boot Camp…

Monday – Thursday; June 13 – 16, 2022: (Grades 9 – 12) from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm daily. At this time, planned sessions are all virtual. Click here to register for the High School Boot Camp…

Each student who attends each day and completes the assigned work will receive a certificate of achievement and a set of books and materials to continue their college planning throughout middle school and high school.

Need Writing Support?

We will offer summer writing support for elementary school through high school students. For rising high school seniors, the sessions will provide guidance in selecting a Common Application topic; writing college essays and personal statements; and responding to writing prompts. During this time of holistic admissions, college essays are more important than ever. Email for more information or to reserve your space.

Want to Join a Cohort?

ASA Guide Right Black Male Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas:
Pinellas County Schools (FL): Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer:
Florence School District 3 (SC): Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, High School Guidance Counselor:
What to join our National Cohort? Click here to learn more…

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