Big Fish Big Lure for College Explorers

Tallahassee, Florida- July 7, 2012
by Julie Montanaro

Dozens of middle and high school students are on FAMU's campus this summer getting a taste of college life.

FAMU's Black Male College Explorers program is hoping the teens will "get hooked" on graduating and going to college.

These teens have been hitting the books eight hours a day and getting a glimpse of college life as part of FAMU Black Male College Explorers program.

It targets at risk teens and encourages them to take the bait and not only graduate from high school, but go on to college.

"This is our 21st summer in our 22nd years and 80 to 85% of all our boys have graduated from high school," said program director Edward Tolliver.

The teens boarded a bus Friday morning bound for the open waters of the Gulf for a deep sea fishing trip. For some of these Florida natives, it's old hat. For others, it'll be a first.

"Who's going to bait your hook?"

"I would get Doctor Tolliver to help me," Tampa native Ronald Boyd said, "but once I get the hang of it I will do it."

"Who's going to clean the fish and fillet the fish?"

"Clean or fillet? Hmm. I'm going to have to pay somebody to cover that for me," he said with a laugh.

"I've been deep sea fishing a couple of times so I'm not really nervous about anything, except not catching any fish," said Fort Pierce native Alfred Lawrence.

The teens spent the day on the Gemini Queen out of Panama City.

The director says it's much more than tight lines, good fishing, it's a lesson in believing in yourself and your future.

"The positive effects of going fishing is the old Chinese proverb - give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime, teach a man to fish and he's good to go," Tolliver said.

The Black Male College Explorers program brings teens to campus for six weeks each summer.

They'll be cooking up those fish tomorrow at a campus fish fry.

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