The Thurgood Marshall College Fund — Fleischer HBCU Scholars Program virtually brought together 50 rising high school seniors to Virginia State University during the summer of 2020, including four from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The program was designed to provide those students with experiential professional and developmental opportunities to act as a catalyst in successful transition from high school to college. The participating students were given an opportunity to receive instruction in real-world business operations, business communication, business etiquette and creating their own business plans.

By studying the practices of successful entrepreneurs, including the mega-successful real estate financier Mort Fleischer, the students learned from program leaders such as Aurelia Nicholas-Donald, herself a former student of Charlotte Amalie High School, about the benefits and opportunities that can follow from attending a historically black college and university.

All parts of the program, including the college credits, Chromebooks and programming were offered at no cost to the students.

The program included four students from the Virgin Islands, Deja Carter, Monet Creque and Shania Thomas, all now seniors at Charlotte Amalie High School and Gregory Gibson Jr., now a senior at Fayetteville Technical High School in Fayetteville, Ga. The participating students all completed a three-credit course, Introduction to Business, taught by professors from Virginia State University’s Reginald F. Lewis College of Business.

Thomas, Gibson and Deja Carter are academically ranked in the top 10 % of their class, while Creque won the digital poster competition.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund — Fleischer HBCU Scholars Program will take place again during the summer of 2021.

To submit their names, students should visit https://forms.gle/mYQ56JBrDCdShSMu6 to be informed when the official application is launched.