Akili Celebrates “Strong Roots” & “Strong Achievements”

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Students from across Akili had a chance to learn from and engage in conversations with  numerous professionals who volunteered their time to discuss the paths they took to their careers. They shared challenges they encountered, skills they had to develop, and what inspires them to keep going. Akili principal Allison Lowe shared, “We saw our scholars inspired by many accomplished African American business, civic, art/communication, and tech leaders.”

Kevin Fergusun, Senior Manager for Premium Accounts with the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints, has volunteered for this event for the last two years, and he feels passionately about contributing to the youth at Akili. “Taking the time to talk to students and young people is important to me. I can remember events like this when I was a kid. Yes, it is about career development and getting them thinking in that way. It is also a simple statement that says, ‘I care. Even though I don’t know you, I care about each of you and I want you to be successful.’ Kids can’t hear that enough. It is hard for kids to aspire to be something if they aren’t exposed to it. The value of talking to students is to open their minds to all the things they are capable of doing. Especially the students interested in being pro athletes. I want them to know all of the opportunities that exist besides just playing ball.”

Megan Braden-Perry an author and freelance journalist who cares deeply about New Orleans and the children who live here shared, “Attending the Akili Career Expo was important to me because when I was growing up as a little black girl in New Orleans, I didn’t know all the career possibilities… Career Days let kids know that you really can be whatever you want to be, even if that job doesn’t exist yet.”