ASAP shares its voice


Junior Anaya Willis, sophomore Zakiyah Willis, sophomore Hope Doyle, junior Khaeleana Minton, and sophomore Aris Owens work on crafts in the library during Black History Month.

Building a community with new leaders and friends, getting prepared for college, and facing social injustice inside in and outside of the halls of Parkway South High are all things that African American kids in ASAP are learning and being trained for. 

ASAP or the African American Student Acceleration Program at South High was an idea to give support to any African American student enrolled in an honors or AP class.  The idea came from Assistant Principal Jenn Sebold. 

“I was at West High for four years and I started a similar program that was successful and I wanted to bring that idea to South kids,” Sebold said.

So what is ASAP about? Well Sebold explained it best.

“To build community among black scholars, we are participating in team building activities, implementing black history projects, and mentoring the middle school ASAP students as well prepare them to transition. Also, we provide academic support in a variety of ways. That may involve scheduling honor students in groups in classes, having study sessions, providing help in a study hall, and many more ways.  Finally, the students are given opportunities to meet with working professionals as mentors, scholarship information, college visit opportunities and many more.”   

Sebold talked about when and where the ASAP club meets. 

“We meet once a month during the school day, an hour a month. Sometimes we meet after school with the middle school kids. We have meetings in the principal conference room and sometimes in the library,” she said. 

Sophomore Zakiyah Willis is a member of ASAP.

“In my opinion [ASAP] it gets the black kids in honors classes support. It’s a kind of support group for African-American students who are in honors classes. It provides resources for us to be more comfortable in those classes,” she said.

“I feel heard and listened to [in this group.] I go into the meeting knowing that the adult won’t just be like yeah ‘I hear you,’ but will take action. I feel empowered through the group,” said Willis.   

Sophomore member Aris Owens explained some of the activities at ASAP and what the theme of the group is.

“In ASAP we try to focus on the community. In the meetings we think of things to do then take action in the best way possible. We go up to the middle school to connect with them and to help the African American kids feel more comfortable within their community. We came together to spread black history facts to make sure that black history month was celebrated at our school. We plan on doing so much more in the future.” 

“Just by sitting in on our meetings you can learn how determined we are to work hard and tackle situations that we come across. You can learn about things that our school doesn’t shine a light on, even though they hold importance and need to be talked about,” Owens said.

“ASAP has given me a larger sense of community at South. Since there aren’t many African Americans aren’t in honors and AP classes, it can be more difficult to connect with people similar to me. Ever since the club started, I’ve been able to relate to more people like me,” said junior Amaya Thomas, another member of ASAP.

Thomas believes that ASAP can influence other communities or groups of kids as well. 

“I think this could eventually give rise to other groups in the future. I feel like once the group grows and more people know about the club, other minorities feel the same way could start groups and see ASAP as an example,” she said.