By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the bench are known for their philanthropy and good deeds. But sometimes, the positive work of their staffs is overlooked. While their work is conducted away from the public eye, court staff and personnel are very engaged in their communities and bettering the opportunities for others.
Monique Holaman, a Kings County Supreme Court senior court attorney, is one of these individuals.
A participant in the Delta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Holaman has always viewed higher education as an augur of success. “The college experience should be afforded to everyone, regardless of background,” Holaman told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Holaman and her chapter members have organized a college tour for Brooklyn high school students. The purpose of the college tour is to give high school students the opportunity to visit historically black colleges and universities from Maryland to Georgia.
Since 2007, approximately 330 students have attended the Delta Rho Omega College Tour. The students have travelled from the New York City Metropolitan area, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to participate in the mandatory workshops that precede the actual tour. Delta Rho Omega’s college tour is unique in that it offers workshops that afford the students the opportunity to learn about the college admissions process, financial aid, and college life in general. The workshops are presented by professionals who are knowledgeable in each subject matter and each student receives an actual PSAT/SAT practice test that they can take at their leisure to gauge their strengths and weaknesses of the test.
Delta Rho Omega’s college tour is one of the most affordable college tours in New York City and all of the students are guaranteed to have one of the most memorable experiences of their young lives, said Holaman.
“The students are given a chance to attain an understanding and appreciation of the rich tradition and heritage of these schools,” noted Holaman.
“We are hoping to expand the students’ introduction to the college process.”
The annual five-day tour, which began in 2007, has assisted approximately 240 students in their quest to search for the right college fit. “We have had a great response over the years,” said Holaman, who is chairing the 2013 tour.
The tour has three goals, according to the chapter’s promotional material:
1) To expose inner-city high school students currently in grades 10-12 to historically black colleges and universities, as well as to familiarize them with the college life experience;
2) To educate both parents and students on the college application process; and
3) To provide information to both parents and students regarding tips for financing higher education.
“Our tour does more than take children on a bus trip through the American South,” said Holaman. “It is a well-rounded family affair that assists with the application process as well as helps families obtain information on how to apply for college financial aid and scholarship packages.”
Through a series of workshops, such as PSAT/SAT prep, College Life and the Application Process, Delta Rho Omega Chapter addresses the college process from beginning to end. Workshops are designed to enhance the college-bound student’s skills (study habits, test taking, etc) and to get them familiar with the college experience.
“We provide a wonderful presentation for Brooklyn children who are interested in higher education,” said Holaman.
During the 2013 tour, children will travel to 10 colleges and universities on a luxury bus and will stay nightly in local hotels. While breakfast and dinner are eaten off campus, the students will have lunch on the college grounds in the student cafeterias in an effort to enhance their introduction to college life.
With the assistance from sponsors such as Carver Federal Savings Bank and Maxim Group, the price of the tour is drastically reduced to allow as many children as possible to afford the experience.
“The Delta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is trying to make an impact in the Brooklyn community,” Holaman mused. “I don’t know many organizations that do what we do,” she said.