By Logan Barrett
The Hip Hop Congress at Texas State spoke with students from Laredo’s LBJ High School during a presentation mixed with both education and entertainment, explaining the opportunities college provides.
Jesse Silva, staff advisor to HHC, said that the goal of the organization is to educate and entertain, what he called “edutainment.” The effort is to show that college is fun and a reality for low income students with diverse backgrounds.
The organization, founded 10 years ago, runs a presentation-based program called Congress Kidz, where the group goes to local elementary schools to get kids excited about getting into college.
“We talk them because a lot of the times the kids are coming from low social standards and a lot of (them) are migrant backgrounds like myself,” said Silva. “We teach them how to really care for themselves and work as a team and again talk to them about adversity.”
Troy Beahan Jr., a graduate student majoring in creative writing, said Congress Kidz is fun to be a part of. “Symmattree” as he is also known as, said the last time they performed for a group of elementary students that after the presentation kids were asking for autographs.
“We want to show them that college is fun and somewhere that they want to go to,” said Silva about the program they do about once a semester.
Another program the organization offers is the Hip Hop TRiO X-Change, which focuses on local high school students. The program conducted on Saturdays educates the history of hip hop and the culture. They also teach about the college application process, financial aid and how to manage those funds.
“My best friend when she got financial aid for college her mom thought she had to pay all that back so she had to explain her that is was money for school and not a loan,” said Beahan Jr.
HHC is also involved in the three day PAWS Preview for all incoming students, where they perform five times during that span to more than 5,000 freshman.
“It’s always good to encourage others and motivate others. Everybody needs mentors sometimes in their lives,” said Jade Lewis, a senior mass communication major and Hip Hop Congress emcee.