Women's History Month: "On a mission" Milwaukee teacher leads HBCU tour
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Billijo Saffold is a teacher on a mission at Milwaukee Marshall High School. She shares a special connection with her students.
"Most people, I wouldn't say teachers, most people after you say no to something, regardless to what they think, they're just going to let you go. Nobody is going to chase after you, but Ms. Saffold will," said student Anthony Horton.
The English and African American Literature teacher is leading the charge, taking 35 students from the school on an Historically Black Colleges and Universities campus tour.
Ty Harvey is a senior and is looking forward to the tour. "I don’t want to knock anything without trying it. I just want to learn whatever is out there for me," said Harvey"
This is the inaugural tour under Saffold's leadership. From 2005 to 2013, she loaded up students on a bus at a previous school. She recalls how she got started forming the tours.
She says she had seniors that would leave high school to attend HBCU's. However, she noticed a pattern. Her former students were returning home.
"And I'd say, what are you doing here this not a school break. Kids don’t usually come home from school until Thanksgiving time," explained Saffold. "Oh, I went off to 'so and so school' and it wasn’t for me. And what do you mean it wasn’t for you? I got there and it wasn't for me. and I'd ask didn’t you go in advance to check out the campus and they'd say no," said Saffold."
Saffold calls the tour her mission work.
"I get so excited at the opportunity to expose them to something different. An educational opportunity they cannot find, cannot experience on any level that compare here in Wisconsin or in the Midwest," said Saffold.
Marquise Hibbler is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. He visited the school on a tour in 2007. He's grateful for Ms. Saffold for the opportunity.
"Just having that opportunity to go on that college tour really changed my mind. I came from an area where you hear about the crime, you hear about the negative aspects of our community," said Hibbler. "Just being able to go to an HBCU and see likeminded individuals, who wanted to be successful and who wanted to go further in life, it really changed me and motivated me to the best person that I could be."
The schools students are visiting are Clark-Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Bethune-Cookman University.
Though Saffold can retire she doesn't plan on stopping her tour work anytime soon. The Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation helps the students greatly with keeping their cost lost to participate. Donatinos to help future students can be made by clicking here.