Southern University and A&M College
Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center
Contact: Bridget Udoh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BATON ROUGE, June 20 - Since 1982, Southern University’s Cooperative Extension has held the Family and Youth Exposition to give Louisiana youth the tools needed to help them excel in academics and life. The Expo, held June 16-18 on campus, was no exception.
Starting on Thursday, with registration, getting acquainted and basketball game, the Southern University Ag Center hosted the energetic 1st - 12th graders. The basketball game was held at the Seymour Gym on Southern University main campus and lasted till 9:00 p.m.
Students, extension agents, volunteers, and Ag Center staff were poised for a full day of events on Friday. Activities started with youth competitions on public speaking and illustrated talk in different age categories at the Smith-Brown Memorial Union. The Body Walk activities followed at 10:00 a.m. in the Seymour Gym. Educational seminars and workshops ran concurrently until lunch time. The General Assembly at 2:00 p.m. was the highlight of the day with welcome from the Youth Development Specialist Wanda Burke.
Southern University Ag Center Chancellor Leodrey Williams brought greetings and System President Ronald Mason delivered a special message to the participants.
President Mason encouraged the students to consider Southern University when it’s time to make a college choice. When you look across the state and the country, among Historically Black Colleges, Southern University stands out as number one. “When you prepare to go to college, where will you go?” Mason asked the audience. “Southern University,” the students chanted.
The Keynote speaker at the assembly was former NBA star, Nikita Wilson. Wilson, a native of Pineville LA and retired Portland Trailblazers player encouraged students to take advantage of the program offered by the SU Ag Center as a foundation to realize their full potential in life. He strongly emphasized the importance of academics.
“Without academics, you’re almost doomed.” The SU Ag Center has put together this program, take advantage of it and engage in education,” said Wilson. He concluded by stating that “we can give you all the tools for academic success, but ultimately, it is up to you as individuals to put them to positive use for a brighter future.”
Grant Henry, a 9th grader from Bossier Parish said it was his first time attending the Expo and was excited to compete in Illustrated Talk. Henry also reported that he has learned that “to be successful, you have to have academics.”
Immediately following the general assembly, participants went to their third session of seminars and workshops which included exploring the scent bar, literacy camp, exploring the technology lab, “How it Grows,” secondary smoke and through the eyes of a microscope. The day culminated in a talent show and dance at the M. A. Edmond Livestock Show Arena.
Saturday, the final day of the Expo started early with a Quiz Bowl at the Student Union with Professor Emeritus Owusu Bandele moderating. The awards program followed at 10:30 a.m. where contestants in various events were recognized.
“This year we had 520 participants at the Family and Youth Expo, the largest group ever,” said Wanda Burke, expo coordinator and director, Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives. “All facets of the Ag Center worked together to make this happen, one person could not have pulled this off.”