Dr. Davis Visits Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut — With Acceptances Ready

In News by Garette Hunter

Hillhouse High School senior Chamar Lee came to school never having heard of North Carolina’s Livingstone College — until he was surprised with a visit and ​opportunity of a lifetime” by the college’s president.

Fifteen of Hillhouse’s Class of 2024 were given on-the-spot acceptances to the private Black Christian college during a 10-city tour stop on Friday by the college’s president, Anthony J. Davis, who himself is a New Haven native.

The Friday event was arranged by Connecticut NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile, New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) Youth, Family, and Community Supervisor Kermit Carolina, and Taneha Edwards, a college access advisor at Hillhouse for Higher Heights.

Out of 25 applications received on Friday, 15 local student Academics left the Sherman Parkway school’s auditorium as potential future Blue Bears. Seven seniors received full rides. Shari Hill, a senior recruiter at the college, reported that a total of $215,000 for students’ first years at Livingstone was given out Friday.

Chaka Felder-McEntire, the founder and executive director of Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Programs, Inc., was also in attendance Friday.

In addition to Hillhouse, Higher Heights is in partnership with New Haven Public Schools at High School in the Community and Hill Regional Career High School.

President Davis talks with Academics Friday morning.    Hillhouse Senior reading Livingstone College Admission's Viewbook

Davis told the Hillhouse class of 2024 that he grew up in foster care in New Haven. That obstacle didn’t stop him from having hope, he said.

He said during his senior year of high school, he had 90 days to make a decision for his future before he aged out of the system and would become homeless. He decided to go into the military. After serving in the military, his mother, the late beloved city educator Wanda Gibbs, encouraged him to further his education. “Twenty-two years later, I got my dream job,” he said, thanks to going back to school.

Somebody from your neighborhood is now one of 100 HBCU presidents,” Davis added. I want to come back to my hometown and help young people unlock their potential, unleash their power.”

He told the students that Friday was a day of ​no games, no gimmicks, and not a gamble, just a gift.”

He encouraged students to apply on the spot Friday if they play sports, are in band, play video games, or are club leaders. “I need to grow my band for Battle of the Bands. Do we have any trumpet players in here? I need a trumpet player badly.”

Senior Jose Santos was the only senior to raise his hand when asked who plays trumpet.

Before Friday, Santos considered Norfolk State University a top school. Still, after learning about Livingstone and being accepted on the spot, he said he has something to discuss with his family now. I’m going to go to the school that offers me the most money,” he said. He added that he wants to join a school marching band.

I didn’t see many opportunities, so this is really big for me,” Santos said. It means that there’s hope out there.”

All of you who have a 3.5 GPA or higher, as the president of Livingstone College, I’m extending you an opportunity to be a presidential scholar on the Livingstone College campus starting this Fall,” Davis said.

The Livingstone team offered students with 2.0 GPAs an acceptance. He added that students who were provided full rides would be awarded the difference in their tuition after their FAFSA funds were applied.

According to the college’s website, the average annual tuition and cost of attending Livingstone are around $28,000 before student aid and $15,000 after aid.

He also promised students that if they increased their GPA to 3.5 or higher by the end of the year, the school would increase their scholarships.

As the president, we give away $4.5 million every year, so why wouldn’t I start in my own community?” Davis said.

Senior Alanis Morales, who left Friday with an acceptance and a $3,100 scholarship, calls her mom with President Davis.

Niyah Walker gets a full ride to Livingstone.










Senior Niyah Walker left her school’s auditorium Friday with a full-ride offer from the Livingstone admission team. It makes things easier because you get to talk and see actually people. Doing things online or on paper is just not the same,” she said.

Financially, this does seem like a good choice,” she said. It will probably be my top choice.”

Not only does Livingstone check off Walker’s list of being an HBCU, but she also offers a major in early childhood education, which is her career goal thanks to inspiration from her Hillhouse teachers. I want to become a teacher in general because of the teachers that I’ve had. Teft a really good impression on me.”

Senior Adam Massey was inspired to apply to Livingstone Friday after hearing Davis’ story and commitment to give back to New Haven students. It was easy, quick, and fast,” he said.

Adam Massey gets on-the-spot acceptance from Hill.

On a scale measuring his interest in attending the school, Massey placed himself Friday at 90 percent, with 100 being ready to leave tomorrow.

Senior Chamar Lee couldn’t believe the opportunity put in front of him Friday as he’s been searching for the right college that is financially feasible for his mother, who is raising five children.

Lee is also considering starting at Southern Connecticut State University because he has accumulated 18 college credits while in high school.

When listing his top priorities for a school, he said, “I really don’t want my mom to pay for school at all.” He also wants to be close to home so he can visit for holidays and major in business and sports management.

Lee exchanged numbers with Davis Friday to discuss football and shot-put opportunities at the college. “It shows that he’s really interested. I got his phone number to contact him, which shows that I can have that trust and bond, which is really needed,” Lee said.

Senior Mohamed Faro got a full ride Friday and called his mom alongside Felder-McEntire. He said it sounds like a better offer than he got from UCONN for theatre, which is the only school he applied for this year.

I feel really grateful and blessed,” he said. It even inspired me to one day come back to my community and give back to my community.”

This article was written by Maya McFadden of the New Haven Independent on April 9, 2024. For more information or to view the original article, please visit https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/hillhouse_hbcu.