Members of the Antioch Progressive Church heard a special speech from President Alex Gonzalez of CSU Sacramento, about the importance of early preparation for college.
The program, called “Super Sunday,” started in 2005. It is a part of the CSU African American Initiative, where college leaders inspire African American youth to go to college.
College leaders persuaded the idea of college to perspective students, saying a college graduate will earn at least $1 million more in a lifespan of earnings, compared to someone with only a high school education.
“The earlier the better,” President Gonzalez said. “Being prepared is what is going to make the difference.” CSU Sacramento hosts events that introduce middle school-ers their paths to college.
Yolanda Hankerson attended Super Sunday. The 37-year-old is a student at CSU Sacramento, set to graduate this May.
“I dropped out because I started a family with my husband, and so we had our first child,” Hankerson said. “And I figured, ‘Oh, I’ll just go back later.’ I didn’t know ‘later’ would mean me completing my degree 19 years later.”
The mother of four is about to send her first child, 17-year-old La’Shay, to college next year. “I’ve been teaching them about going to college since elementary school, that it was important,” Hankerson said.
La’Shay hopes to inspire her younger siblings, just as her mother inspired her. “I want to go to design or journalism school soon so I can focus on my career later,” La’ Shay Hankerson said. “We all want to be a better person, so they’re going to see from me, that that could happen.”
Since Super Sunday started began almost a decade ago, CSU leaders have seen positive results. “The enrollment for African American students on our campus has increased,” President Gonzalez said. ”But we’re always trying to improve.”