The Black Press class embarked upon a service learning project at one of New Orleans impoverished high schools, Fredrick Douglass.The class is designed to educate and inform its students on the many founders and developers of previous Black owned newspapers and magazines as well as the impact of the African American press in the United States from its inception to the present.
Dr. Rouzan informed her class that they would partake in a service learning project that would integrate high school students into a college atmosphere and give the Dillard University students a taste of the New Orleans education system.
The project consisted of eight Dillard students who would be pared up with eight of the high school’s top students along with Dorise Blackmon, a teacher at the high school.The students were instructed to pick a topic that involved the influence of the black press and present a power point presentation.
“I am happy that I have received an opportunity to influence a young individual,” said Krystal Patterson, a senior mass communication major.
Dr. Rouzan said that while visiting Fredrick Douglas High School was beneficial, the environment was too distracting for real progress. Over the course of the semester Dr. Rouzan and her class made four trips in an attempt to proceed with the service learning project. Upon their arrival, the Dillard students sat in a small classroom on the third floor and became acclimated with their students, while developing topics for their projects.
“I feel that this is a good opportunity to connect college students with aspiring high school students,” said Ashley Wilson, a junior mass communication major.”I was a little nervous when I was told that we would be working with college students, but I am looking forward to it. I plan to go to a four year college and Dillard is one of my choices. I want to major in music and vocal performance,” said Saprita Hollins, a senior at Fredrick Douglass High School.
The project started out in a positive direction but as the semester went on, students on both ends lost contact and the project seemed lost.
Determined to complete the expectations that had been made for their classes, Dr. Rouzan and Dorise Blackmon rallied their students together and decided to meet at Dillard in a more controlled and productive setting.Once the students arrived at Dillard they were able to tour the school and fill out admission and financial aid applications.
“We are making history; this is our first set of applications that we have filled out together. This is your chance to get all the answers and help you need on filling out your applications for Dillard,” Ms. Blackman said.The students finally got together and finished their projects, despite the few detours they experienced, and presented on April 19.
“I have mixed feelings; overall I am pleased that we did it. I think it will benefit both sides, however I wish we could have structured it differently; in such a way that the high school students would have come to Dillard more often. I’ve learned a lot and I think my students have as well,” Dr. Rouzan said.