Two poetry celebrities widely known as writers, teachers, and motivational speakers will bring their talents to North Carolina Wesleyan College for a free performance on Saturday, April 5, at 7:30 in the college’s Elizabeth Braswell Pearsall Library. The event will conclude a day of service and campus poetry workshops that will launch a new Wesleyan program called WesOne.
The program is designed to help first generation college students develop skills that will help them succeed in college and motivate them to remain in college to complete a degree. First-generation college students are defined at Wesleyan as those who are the first in their families to attend college. Many students at Wesleyan, as well as some members of the faculty and staff, identify themselves as “first generation.”
The WesOne program is funded in part by a grant of $20,000 from the James G. Hanes Memorial Foundation. Over the next three years, the funds will help provide scholarships for a limited number of participants and will support advising sessions that will strengthen students’ skills in areas such as academic readiness, coping, self-awareness, and financial knowledge.
“First generation students, new and current, at Wesleyan will receive special recognition upon their arrival on campus and at graduation,” explained LaNika Richardson, Student Success Specialist in Wesleyan’s Student Success Center and herself a first generation graduate of NC Wesleyan. “One of the strengths of WesOne is the involvement of faculty and staff who were formerly first generation college students,” she said. “The testimonies as well as mentorship of these faculty and staff, along with programs designed to meet educational, social, and financial needs, should go a long way toward helping first generation students graduate.”
The two motivational speakers who will help launch the WesOne program have received dozens of individual accolades for their artistry, mentorship, and community involvement. They are most recently known from being featured on CNN’s “Black in America 5” in 2012.
Greg Corbin is a poet, teacher, motivational speaker, mentor, and community leader in Philadelphia and beyond. His many recognitions include the Black Male Engagement Leadership Award. He serves on the Philadelphia Poet Laureate Governing Committee and is founder of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement.
Perry DiVirgilio is the award-winning artistic director for the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement. He teaches poetry as an avenue for self-expression, self-esteem, public speaking, and peer mentoring.
The event will include a book signing and a reception sponsored by Milton & Miles on the library patio. The performance is free to Wesleyan faculty, staff, students, and the community. Registration for Corbin and DiVirgilio’s presentation may be made by telephoning Wesleyan’s Student Success Center at 252-985-5323 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.