Texas State University Hip Hop Congress pumps up prospective Laredo High School students

By Jon Wilcox

Select representatives from the Texas State University student organization, the Hip Hop Congress, met with prospective seniors from Laredo, Texas’s Lyndon B. Johnson High School in an anything but a normal information session. More than forty high school seniors gathered on Wednesday at noon in a beige conference room at Texas State University’s aging Old Main building in preparation for that afternoon’s campus tour. Tired and hungry from their from bus trip, the purple-and-gold-adorned high school visitors munched pizza and whispered among themselves, waiting patiently for the guests of the hour.

Laredo students wait to kickoff a campus tour.

 All at once amidst a myriad of buzzing conversations, rose the unmistakable rhythm of clapping. Clap. Clap-Clap. Clap. “Is there anyone here from Houston!” a voice from the front shouted. The room’s attention suddenly settled on the three individuals standing in front. “Anyone here from Austin, Texas?” one of the three yelled. Still silence. “Anyone here from Laredo?” At that, the well-behaved high school students jumped from their seats in a single, unifying scream: “Yeah!”

Hip Hop Congress members from left to right, Weston “Nat Plastic” Freas, Troy “Symmatree” Baham Jr., Jade “Aye Cue” Lewis, eat pizza.

Hip Hop Congress members, Troy “Symmatree” Baham Jr., Weston “Nat Plastic” Freas, and Jade “Aye Cue” Lewis, spoke — at times, even rapped — on a variety of helpful topics, ranging from finding the right financial aid for college to securing enough toilet paper for roommates.

The conversation flowed freely back and forth between congress and high school students, allowing visitors to pose a variety of questions. Some wanted to know about day-to-day life on campus: “Should I get a bike?” Other questions required more complicated answers: “Women have often been left behind in hip hop, and we want to change that,” said one congress member after a moment of introspection.
The Hip Hop Congress set themselves apart from most Mass Comm Week guests in a way that more experienced and accomplished speakers struggle to. The Hip Hop Congress not only gets students excited about college but also motivates them. “You can do it too.” said one congress faculty leader, “ If someone said college is not for you, we’re here to say it is.”

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