At West Los Angeles College’s 49th commencement, students connected through ancestral lineage and the pride displayed on their Kente cloth embroidered sashes, walked across the stage into their next journey in life as African-American graduates. Included in West’s class of black grads were STEM scholar Yasmin Eady, presidential scholar Erika Clarke, Army veteran Walter Broom, and basketball standout Tawvan Carryl.
As evidence of West’s commitment to the success of its African-American students, the college offers several tailored support programs including Black Scholars / Leading and Energizing African American Students to Research and Knowledge (LEARN) which provides tutoring, mentoring, and academic advisement. With assistance from LEARN, Yasmin Eady experienced a 10-day study abroad trip to China, represented students at a Los Angeles Community College Board meeting and was accepted to HCBU North Carolina A&T State University. In fact, 21 out of the 24 Black Scholars graduates have been accepted into prestigious universities including UCLA, UC Davis, Johns Hopkins, Tuskegee, and several California State University campuses.
Erika Clarke also exemplifies African-American student success at West and was aided by the TRiO program. Of the 46 TRiO program graduates, 37 are transferring to a four-year university in the fall and more than half of them finished the school year with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Clarke was also a STEM major —biology. In the fall, she will be attending California State University Dominguez Hills with a $15,000 CSUDH Presidential Scholarship, one of the highest and most competitive scholarships they offer.
When Army veteran Walter Broom set his sights on West, he was returning to school to start a non-profit.
“I’m a proud business owner of Edrica’s House of Hope [a sober living facility]. Through my studies here at West, I’ve been able to take and pass the state certification,” said Broom.
With help and encouragement from the West Veteran Center, Broom is on his way to UCLA to finish his degree in non-profit entrepreneurship.
Tawvan Carryl is a product of Crenshaw High where he was part of the Cougar basketball team. Carryl brought his talents to West looking to grow not only as an athlete but as a student. His efforts were recognized at the West athletic department Westpy Award ceremony and by his acceptance, with a scholarship, to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.