On April 29, South Florida State College will play host to nearly 200 male students from the five high schools in DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties.

What’s the occasion?

SFSC wants to close the gap between males who graduate from high school and fail to enroll in college.

SFSC aims to tackle this problem by bringing male high school students, many of whom will be from minority backgrounds, to the college’s Highlands campus to hear from other young men from  who have made a success of the transition to college.

Coach Zep Augustine

Coach Zep Augustine

“The high schools students will interact with a panel of current young minority males who attend SFSC,” said Dr. Timothy Wise, dean for student services. “Then, they will hear from a panel of successful minority SFSC alumni.”

Wise, who organized the program with the help of a campus-based task force and the five high schools, said the close-up encounter will show the high school students they can succeed at SFSC. Wise said the principals will join the students during the event.

While the college enrollment rate of African-American and Hispanic males has increased in the past decade, they still enroll in fewer numbers than their non-minority peers. Also, fewer minority males go on to graduation.

Before treating the students to a lunch of pizza, Zep Augustine, a motivational speaker, will get the students fired up over the prospect of launching their academic life at SFSC. Augustine, who played football for the Lake Placid Green Dragons and University of Florida Gators, now owns his own fitness company, Next Level Sports and Fitness.

Before leaving for home, the students will get the opportunity to meet one-on-one with admissions officers, financial aid advisers, and student support counselors.

“We want these young men to leave the campus knowing how to apply for admission, how to pay for college, and how to find help from caring SFSC employees when they are on our campuses,” Wise said.

For more information on SFSC’s minority male initiative, contact Dr. Wise at 863-784-7104 or wiset@southflorida.edu.