‘Opportunity Up’ delves into sensitive, racial issues


Photo by Devesh Kumar.

Ronel Ghidey

This Saturday, students from across CPS’ MAC scholars programs are coming together to host their 5th annual Achievement Conference at Columbia College from 8-2 p.m. This year’s conference title is ‘Opportunity Up,’ and will be a mixture of discussion panels and sessions about socially sensitive topics and information. The keynote speaker is Dr. S. David Mitchell, an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri’s school of law.  
The conference on October 24 will be holding seven different workshops with each one being held in groups of two except for the main session called Opportunity Up. Late Registration will be held the day of the main conference, from 7:30-8 a.m.  According to Arnulfo Peat, the Vice President of the MAC scholars program for CPS, the issues that will be discussed at this year’s conference are ones that affect many of the students attending.
”Student achievement is at the core of each conference, but the differences come from the student organizers and the current issues they are faced with,” Peat said. “Conference topics tend to be a reflection of what our young people are dealing with or what they would like others to be informed about. This year, the young adults have a heighten awareness of our societies social issues and want to be informed, so that they can be change agents.”
Opportunity Up, which is the workshop which the conference is named after, will be about the situation in Ferguson and  methods of preventing different scenarios in Columbia. The workshop serves as a main attraction of the conference altogether.
There will be a workshop on Friday for educators, held by Dr. Mitchell himself. Peat said the workshop will hopefully be a good keynote speaker for the conference.
”The  workshop will provide strategies to make pedagogy more relevant and effective for the 21st century learner,” Peat said. “The workshop will engage attendees in the current discourse around collaboration and inclusion in the educational environment.”
LaTia Glasgow is one of the students responsible for organizing and creating the conference. She explains that she and the planning committee chose these specific workshops because their about topics that are relevant to everyone.
“What we’re really trying to emphasise, not only through this conference but in our organization as a whole, is that MAC Scholars isn’t only black people,” Glasgow said. “It’s an organization dedicated to the achievement of others and we hope this conference will get people to see that.”