Choosing a career path is already a stressful task for high school students, but it can be even more overwhelming for some minorities. A conference at Rock Valley College hoped to put some of their concerns to rest today.
“Nobody’s gonna hand you a career. You’ve gotta work for it. You’ve gotta work for it and not give up.” said a member of the panel. That was just one of the inspiring messages provided to male minority high schoolers at Rock Valley College’s Stenstrom Center Friday morning. Over 150 of them from across the Stateline came together for the college’s annual Minority Male Leadership Conference. A panel spoke on their own experiences as minorities in the workforce.
“We rarely have events like this and i wish we’d have more events like this.” said Auburn High School senior Darryus McCoy. Rock Valley College President Doug Jensen says the idea is to break down negative stereotypes that can make minority men feel as though they’re unable to pursue certain career path, saying “Sometimes just seeing other men or other leaders in the community that are not representative of that stereotype helps them understand what their power and what their potential is.”
One of those young men is Darryus McCoy. This is the second year the auburn senior has attended the conference. He says hearing about some of the hardships successful minority men have gone through is inspiring, saying “With them speaking to you, you know, the younger men, and you know, I should just say the community as a whole, really motivates and helps us and makes us think anything is possible and believe anything is possible.”
Sam Morgan was one of the panel members. The first generation college student is now the Dean of Enrollment and Retention at Rock Valley. He says “I really want students to find one meaningful, either idea or connection, that they can take with them for a lifetime.”
McCoy says he’s soaking in all the advice and putting it towards his goal of owning his own business or becoming a physical therapist, saying “Everything that happened in the past, i let that motivate me to keep on thriving and excelling in life. And then once i get to the destination that i’m reaching for, i’ll look back on these things and say, ‘I finally made it’.”