Drew Hampden, 19, couldn’t stop smiling yesterday as he stood before a small room full of clapping people.
The Black Educators Association had just presented him and another student, Akila Whiley, also 19, with $1,000 scholarships to continue their educations.
“Look at these two, this is the future here,” Steve Carrington, the association’s executive director, said as he introduced the students.
Hampden just finished his first year of business school at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. In the future he wants to pursue business law.
“I’d wanted to go into business for a long time,” he said with a grin. “I want to be an entrepreneur and start my own business.”
Hampden said the money would cover the cost of his business textbooks this year.
His mother, Margo Hampden, was beaming, too.
“Any opportunity that students have to receive additional funding, it really does help,” she said. “The support is so desperately needed for students, especially for him, being a black male.”
She said the Nova Scotia government should put more money towards educating black students. “If we don’t make it a priority, who’s going to make it a priority?”
Hampden added that she works with the provincial government, but is “always his mom first.”
A Statistics Canada report says the average earning potential for an African Nova Scotian with a bachelor degree increased from 2000 to 2005; in 2000 the average earning power was $55,701 and in 2005 it was $56,225.
“It’s about learning respect, learning hard work, (and learning) that hard work really pays off,” Hampden’s proud mom said. “And that’s been very trying for him in the education system.”
“There are attempts being made,” Brad Barton, a local diversity consultant who attended the presentation, said about whether the school system has catered to black youth. “But unfortunately sometimes they don’t go far enough.”