Community-Based Learning

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Hip Hop (R)evolution

Dec 05, 2012 by Lauren Quirici


On Friday, November 30th, kids of all ages along with their parents flooded through the doors of the Peck school in Holyoke to attend Hip-Hop (R)evolution, an event hosted by the Student Bridges organization of UMASS.  Held once every semester, the event aims to educate and inform students and their parents about the possibility of college.  To incorporate the message into a fun and memorable evening, Student Bridges gets the kids involved through hip-hop, which is a favorite genre of music at the school.

 The first portion of the evening was a Bingo-style scavenger hunt of sorts designed to inform kids and their parents about all things college-related.   Inside the school’s gymnasium, tables had been set up by different groups and clubs who are involved in promoting college education awareness, including (of course!) the Mount Holyoke College CBL program.  As kids and parents filed into the gymnasium, each parent and child was handed a Bingo card filled with questions for the college student groups that were present.  Attendees sought out answers to the questions in order to fill up their Bingo cards, which they later exchanged for a raffle ticket.  Volunteers handed out free sunglasses, samples, and even offered face-painting.  

 Several of the attending Mount Holyoke CBL fellows and participants were native Spanish speakers, which facilitated communication with the parents and students who are still learning to speak English.  As the kids and parents approached the CBL table to ask questions, our fellows were easily able to make them feel welcome and comfortable in conversation.  “I’m from Miami, too!” said one boy with a wide grin after discovering that he and Scarlett Montenegro shared a hometown.  The CBL students shared stories and college experiences with enthusiasm, and in doing so created positive associations with college in the minds of Holyoke residents of all ages. 

After enjoying a meal of traditional Puerto Rican food, the main attraction of the evening began.  Everybody migrated to the school’s auditorium to watch a series of hip-hop related performances by Peck students, who had worked on routines for months with after-school groups.  The performers showed off talents ranging from drumming and rapping to dancing and singing.  The college students got involved as well.  The UMASS “Insanely Prestigious Step Team” performed for the kids, and host and UMASS student Angie Tejeda had the crowd singing along to her Lauryn Hill-style rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”  Some technical difficulties with the sound system didn’t succeed in hampering the kids’ spirits or energy, and by the end of the evening nearly all of them had gotten up to surround the stage, dance, and cheer on their friends.  

 The next Hip Hop (R)evolution will take place next spring, and the Mount Holyoke College CBL program will be there as always, helping to provide information to and promote success among the kids at the Peck school!




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