Walking into a beautifully decorated room, being honored for all the good work and things that were done that year: it was an amazing night full of great information and entertainment. We started off the night will a Japanese drum performance. I along with a few of the other older girls in the club were the MC’s. We were in charge of planning the banquet and keeping everything on time.
We are The Merze Tate Explorers, a program that teaches young girls about careers, video, writing and editing skills. We interview lots of people such as Mae Jemison (The astronaut), Margot Lee Shuterly (The Author of Hidden Figures), and many more. For a week over the summer, we stay at a college campus. Getting a tour and doing lots of fun activities. Some of the colleges we have stayed at are K College, U of M, Olivet and this summer we will be staying on Western Michigan Campus.
At the banquet, we talked about a lot of our new partnerships. Including our biggest one with KVCC, they have planned college classes for us to take and get credit from. We also have a big partnership will the Boy Scouts that have done a lot of fun and cool things for us. We also have partnerships with Wester Michigan for our stay over the summer.
While at the banquet, we had a dance group perform. They had a tap dance section as well as a hip hop routine and they helped to unveil our 2020 summer trip, which is South Africa. In the past we have been to Canada, two girls went to France, We went to Europe and visited Rome and France, We have also visited Hawaii and our 2019 summer trip to Japan.
For all of our banquets we have a guest speaker and this time it was Dr. Cherly Dickson. She is a Dean of health equity and community affairs. She is employed at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. She walked about her struggles growing up as an African American female. She talked about how many of her peers/classmates would look down on her because of her skin tone and telling her that she only got into medical school because of her skin tone.
“I felt very discouraged because I was not the best student in the class… I would call my dad and tell him how I wanted to leave but he would not let me and would tell me that I could do anything,” said Dr. Dickson.
Dr. Dickson is an amazing doctor and person. She is caring and compassionate, and she told us that we should not let anything stop us from doing what we want and to always leave a positive impact. The theme for this year is medicine and we have already learned about so many different medical fields, and meet so many people in the profession.
The Explorers got to visit U of M’s medical hospital and talk to medical students from Ghana, Pre-med students, and others. We got to do a lot of different simulations and activities and learned what we would need to do to better the situation and help the person in need. Some of the explorers even got to talk to Dr. Timothy R.B. Johnson. He is an outstanding Obstetrician who has traveled to Gahan 65-70 times o help and deliver babies. He is very profound and leaves a positive mark on many lives. He told the explorers that he had delivered more than 20,000 babies in his career.
Thanks to all of the help from the Merze Tate Explorers and others who are increasingly making a difference in all of the girls in the program’s lives we are starting to get more passionate in knowing what we want to do in our futures and being able to get a headstart.