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New Towson High staffer empowers black female students

Last week was National School Counseling Week, and I had the pleasure of connecting with a recent addition to Towson High School’s staff. K. Courtiney Jacobs, M.S., M.Ed., came on board to THS seven months ago as a school counselor, cheerleading coach, and adviser to the Black Student Union and Ladies of Distinction programs.

Jacobs and the Black Student Union have been at work this month creating school-wide programming to honor Black History Month. Some of the special activities include bulletin boards and daily facts on the morning announcements. Last Thursday, there was a screening of Oscar-nominated film “Get Out.” This week there’s a field trip to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum. Upcoming events include an assembly featuring Jarrett Carter, founder of HBCU Digest; renowned photographer Darin Allen; and Kwame Alston, the first African American Student Government Association president at Hopkins in 15 years. The Alphas and AKAs will give a step performance and discuss Greek life on Feb. 23.

The Ladies of Distinction leadership program was launched last year, and Jacobs now serves as adviser. This empowerment and enrichment group for African-American girls currently has 15 members, with plans to enroll more. “We talk about ways to have courageous conversations and how to build positive relationships with other students,” Jacobs says. At the conclusion of the first semester, Jacobs surveyed members to assess the initiative’s impact. Students reported they were better able to start relationships, talk to new people and engage more in class. “The ultimate goal for LOD is to empower the girls to love themselves and others, while preparing for leadership,” Jacobs says. “I encourage the girls to be REAL: Resilient, Empowered, Ambitious, and Leaders.” If you have leadership opportunities to share or would like to help present or speak at a Ladies of Distinction or Black Student Union meeting or program, send an email to kjacobs@bcps.org

Jacobs has another pursuit outside of THS that I believe warrants recognition as well. She has created an Instagram account called Road to Inspire, which “highlights professionals of color so that students of color can see themselves in the fields they dream to be in.” While completing her internship at Parkville High School, Jacobs met a student who said she wanted to become a neurosurgeon, but didn’t know of any black neurosurgeons and worried her goal might be unattainable. Jacobs put the student in touch with a future neurosurgeon studying at Georgetown, and that connection made a tremendous difference to the student. She wanted other students to find that same feeling of confidence, so she created Road to Inspire. Jacobs says that through Road to Inspire, she hopes “to inspire students of color to go after their dreams no matter what. I want them to know that there are people in those fields who look just like them and if there isn’t, then they can break that barrier.” If you know an inspirational someone to highlight, please contact Jacobs at roadtoinspire@gmail.com.

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