Our 2022-23 Discussion Group Leaders
Rev. Dr. Yolanda Davis
Our discussion group leaders are anchored by our longtime friend, Rev. Dr. Yolanda Davis. Rev. Dr. Yolanda has supported our work with her brilliance and compassion for youth since 2006, when my wife and I began serving as Education Ministry Leaders at the Turner Chapel AME Church (Marietta, GA).
Rev. Dr. Yolanda is the only discussion group leader to spend 2 years with the same students (10th and 11th grades). She challenges students to think critically, reflect deeply, and to engage in discussions in the manner that will be expected of them as college students.
Peyton Wilson (Graduate, George Washington University)
I was a member of the CPC at Turner Chapel AME where I volunteered with my sister, Raigon. At a young age, my church community and family made very clear the significance of a college education and a strong work ethic. Due to the firm and compassionate guidance from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn, I was awarded the Posse scholarship to George Washington University. There, I was a Resident Advisor, a campus tour guide, Executive Vice President of our Black Student Union, Creative and Executive Editor of our campus’ Black magazine The Black Ace, a leader within the Posse cohort, and held several campus jobs and research positions.I decided to volunteer with the College Planning Cohort because I am a testament firsthand to what the program can do for students. Even after I graduated from high school, the work ethic and dedication I developed from middle school were key to my success in undergrad. I want to help cultivate the same skills in students who enter the program. I had the pleasure of working with stellar 11th grade students last year, and this year I will be working with our 8th grade students.
A sophomore in the St. Petersburg High School IB Program (St. Petersburg, FL). Jocelyne notes,
I am volunteering because I have been in the College Planning Cohort since 6th grade and I’ve been wanting to help others with their processes as well. Along with the idea of giving general advice, I’d like to share my knowledge regarding the transition to high school, the opportunities and activities available at school, ways to sharpen your transcript while also looking back on things that I could’ve done better. I’m hoping that I can give my discussion group a place and community to be able to talk about their plans, school life, and feel comfortable the way that I was when I was in a discussion group.With these 8th graders, I am looking forward to helping them identify their strengths, interests, and goals. When I was in their shoes there were many subject areas I could see myself in, but most of them were connected to where I was performing well in school. I want to help our students identify their strengths and passions outside of the classroom, and develop a plan to get them in the mindset for personal success.
A freshman in the Lakewood High School CAT Program (St. Petersburg, FL). Griffin notes,
I started the Cohort program the summer before 8th grade in the College Planning Bootcamp, followed by the PCS Cohort in 8th grade. This past summer I served as an intern for middle school students in the College Planning Bootcamp and decided to accept the challenge this year to serve as the discussion group leader for the new middle school Emerging Leaders Program.I am volunteering partially due to the recommendation of my mentors: Mr. and Mrs. Wynn, and to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone, and because I thought that this would be a good leadership growth opportunity.As discussion group facilitator I hope to guide the students’ discussions in a meaningful way, and watch the students become more confident in themselves as I did when I first started the Cohort. I am hoping that the students can learn from each other and benefit from the interactions in this discussion group of motivated and talented students.
We are also supported by (in alphabetical order):
Faith Kumi – University of Chicago
Mychal-David Wynn (Graduate, Amherst College)
Robert Penn (Graduate, George Mason University)
Sydnee Brothers – North Carolina A&T State University Honors College
Sydney Soskin – University of Chicago