Artis Yancey HBCU Tour

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2020 commemorates the seventh (7th) year of the Artis Yancey Historically Black Colleges & Universities Tour, renamed in 2015 honor of Waukegan’s own Artis Yancey. In honor of his contributions to the Waukegan/Lake County community, in addition to his commitment to the youth and their success - academically and beyond.

The 2020 scheduled Tour was met with the challenge of COVID-19 and was subsequently canceled. Through the adversity, Supervisor Patricia Jones saw the opportunity to birth new events in effort to keep the mission alive. On Wednesday, July 22, 2020 a Virtual Graduation Celebration was held in honor of the fifteen (15) Tour participants, representing the graduating class of 2020. 

The Virtual Celebration, recognizing and congratulating the Class of 2020 participants was a great success.  We were honored with guest speakers that included Artis Yancey HBCU long-time supporters, previous student attendees, Mayor Sam Cunningham, Central State Alumni, and representatives from various other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  

It is our plan to safely continue providing the HBCU experience in 2021. We are proud to announce a newly formed partnership with Medline Industries.  Medline has agreed to participate as the transportation sponsor for 2021 along with providing the opportunity for select Artis Yancey HBCU Touring students to complete college internships with Medline Industries. Information on the 2021 Artis Yancey HBCU Tour will be provided in the upcoming weeks. This is sure to be our best year yet!

Through the generosity of our amazing donors and like minded individuals, we are proud to report that four (4) students, representing Lake County high schools, were awarded $1,000 scholarships, as they embark on their collegiate careers at various HBCUs.  Congratulations to: 

* De’Ashala Blanchard, North Chicago HS, Central State University

* Maya Dewey, Lakes Community HS, Spelman College    

* Chardea James, North Chicago HS, North Carolina A & T University

* Raven May, Waukegan HS, Spelman College

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The Artis Yancey HBCU tour started in 2013 with the passion and determination of Supervisor Patricia Jones with the full support of the Board of Trustees. Her purpose was to encourage students to pursue goals and not to settle for anything less than what they desire. Investing in our youth is an initiative that is crucial to the success of Waukegan Township’s future.

Waukegan Township has undertaken the community initiative “Investing in Our Future.”  Whether it's providing a boost to the booster club, providing funding for a local middle school trip to Springfield or just providing a day with a movie, mentors and positive activities, Waukegan Township has taken a stand that our children are the future of our country and we must start with them.

Each year the Artis Yancey Historically Black College and University tour takes approx. 25 - 40 students on a 7-10 day trip to visit Historical Black Colleges & Universities. This HBCU Tour Experience consists of a bus trip taken during spring break. Students range from the 9th through 12th grades.

Along with the college visits and tours, the students also visit local museums and historical sites to round out their experience.  Statistics show that the Northshore area only has a 75% graduation rate compared to 87% statewide.  According to counselors and teachers,  only 30% of those graduating in the district go on to a post-secondary educational institution.  Waukegan Township and its partners want to enhance the opportunities for those wishing to attend a college or university after high school. 

The Artis Yancey HBCU Tour benefits students from all races and financial backgrounds. Students visit schools that offer the same degrees they are looking for in smaller classrooms. HBCU's offer personalized training. Their tuition can be more cost-effective.

While on tour, students will be immersed in campus life, exposed to culture and history first hand. More importantly, students will have the educational advantage of moving forward from high school to institutions of higher learning.  An additional benefit is the monthly informational sessions which provide college-prep workshops for those students who decide to become participants in the tour.

In 2015 the tour was renamed to honor an outstanding humanitarian, Mr. Artis Yancey, who served the City of Waukegan as a highly respected Police Detective and Chief of Police as well as the first African American elected to the office of Waukegan City Clerk. Mr. Yancey was the first African American Coroner in Lake County.  The legacy of Artis Yancey represents a dedication to the City of Waukegan and Community; especially the youth. He passionately believed in the power of higher education and providing high school students with the opportunity of the onsite experience of touring Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the United States. For several years, Chief Yancey unselfishly volunteered his time as a chaperone, providing parents the comfort of knowing their children were in good hands and to the students, he offered insight to the options that were available to them.

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