Local leaders, business owners slated for 9th annual African-American Male Summit

VIRGINIA BEACH – Five hundred to 600 high school students are expected to attend the ninth annual African-American Male Summit on Jan. 9 at Salem High, according to Jobynia Caldwell, the director of equity affairs for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

This year’s summit is titled, “Beyond Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream: Building Your Brand,” and will feature as its keynote speaker Gary McCollum, who recently ran unsuccessfully for Virginia’s 7th State Senate District. All Virginia Beach high school male students can attend the event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fifth-graders have been invited to attend for the past two years as well, Caldwell said. Principals select which fifth-grade boys to invite based on their academic performance and early leadership skills.

Students at the summit will hear local business leaders, alumni and school administrators talk about how their paths to success.

Caldwell estimated that about 150 to 200 parents will also attend a Parent Institute at the summit. The institute features subjects and exhibits on how they can support their son’s growth in and out of the classroom. Exhibits will include representatives from colleges, military, nonprofits, local businesses and school division academies.

“There is a reason to remember the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to continue to move forward because of the sacrifice of other Americans,” Caldwell wrote in an email.

Superintendent Aaron Spence encouraged students to attend, especially those who have not been to a previous summit.

“The African American Male Summit provides our students with experiences, opportunities and insight that will benefit them for years to come,” Spence said in a release.

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