Southern’s Mason inspires DHS students

JARELLE SCOTT, Contributing Writer
Southern University President Roger Mason, Jr. stands on the stage at DHS to speak to the students and Donaldsonville alumni who attended Friday.

Southern University needs more students, plain and simple. Despite an enrollment dip over the past few years, the university has a plan to build the interest of prospective students.

That plan starts with reaching out to as many students across the country as possible. But first, getting the attention of the kids in their own backyard is most important.

Roger Mason, Jr., system president at Southern University, spoke to students at Donaldsonville High School Friday to do just that. Mason’s audience also included Southern University alumni who also attended Donaldsonville High, Louisiana State Senator Troy Brown, Louisiana State Representative Ed Price and Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan.

While the theme of the program was “inspiring students to accomplish their careers," what Mason might have accomplished was the task of getting students interested in Southern, or college at all for that matter.

Mason opened by asking the students what was a college or university. He then explained to them the value of getting an education and how attending college can help shape their futures.

“Go to college, it can open doors. We take young people, put our arms around them and help them be the best they can be. Anything you want to do, you can do it at Southern,” Mason said in front of the audience.

The message was definitely felt by a number of students. Some were inspired; others came away with a different outlook on Southern University and a few gained hope about the potential of their futures as well as their peers.

“I learned that there are a lot positive things that black men can do. He inspired a lot of young men at this school to look forward to having a better future and expanding their options,” DHS senior student Ka’Lynn Jupiter said.

The program concluded with the Donaldsonville band playing a few selections. Most notably, “Do what you wanna”, a selection that Southern’s band is most known for.

“It’s just gratifying that he came here to speak to us. I thoroughly enjoyed it; I appreciate the administrators from Southern coming to Donaldsonville to speak to us. It shows that there are people out there who actually care,” said Ronald Comeaux, senior class president and drum major at Donaldsonville High School.

At the end of the day, like the students, Mason too enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the school, saying that it’s always important to get the word out about Southern.

“I don’t get to do a lot of this in the job I’m in. It’s always a pleasure to get to talk to young people, especially if they’re listening. It’s to get the good word out about Southern, the more we go out and tell people, the better it is,” Mason said.