White House official in town to visit with high school and colle - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

White House official in town to visit with high school, college students

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(WMC) - The number of African-American men attending college is low, but now, the White House is teaming up with local educators and students to change those numbers.

The deputy director for the White House Initiatives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities paid Memphis a visit Thursday.

Dr. Ivory Toldson met with high school and college students to start a conversation about the academic gap between students, particularly black male students.

"From where I came from, it was just something you hear about it, but to actually be here is a blessing," said East High School senior Jalon Netters.

"I think Memphis has a lot of good ideas," said Dr. Ivory Toldson. "I think they have a long way to go."

Toldson was in town to talk to educators about graduations rates, test scores, and the overall gap in academic success.

Netters says it is all about showing students a path to success.

"There is a way for you to become better than what you used to be," he said.

Programs in and out of school have helped Netters get a full-ride scholarship to University of Memphis next year.

Netters says surrounding students with empowering people only helps their success, and could get them thinking about college and beyond.

"The best way to change that is to find what you love to do and just stick with it," said Netters. "Martin Luther King, he started out as a teacher, and he started out doing his own role and yet it impacted the whole world."

That comment made it all the more fitting that the conversation started at National Civil Rights Museum, which is full of examples of people rising above the storm.

"With the opportunities that you have for yourself, you should show the world what you're capable of doing," added Netters.

Dr. Ivory also met with leaders at LeMoyne College on Wednesday. He learned a lot about the school's mentoring programs and initiatives to encourage more young people to apply for college and beyond.

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