Spring Break College Tour: Vacation or Punishment?
Josh Pinkard, a graduate from the University of Southern California in Sociology, a standout safety of the USC 2004-2005 National Championship football team and former rookie on the Seattle Seahawks, says he didn’t know what the college tour was about when he learned he was going. It was time for Spring Break and it was going to be Josh Pinkard’s birthday when his Aunt and Uncle (Irene and Bedford Pinkard) told him he was going on a college tour for a week. “I didn’t know if they were kidding or if it was really going to happen! I had planned a lazy spring break with my friends celebrating by birthday. Well, they weren’t kidding and I was going!” said Josh Pinkard.
“I had never heard of some of the colleges we toured—Southern University, Dillard University, Morehouse & Spellman Colleges, Clark-Atlanta University, and Xavier University to name a few. I went two years. It was fascinating to tour them and hear about how they started.” Josh said.
The southern culture was something that fascinated Josh. “I enjoyed the exposure and the culture. Southern culture was not something I was exposed to on the West Coast. Seeing the fraternities and sororities and observing the love and camaraderie they had for each other was awesome. It was like an extended family. Watching the step shows and how members of the various groups dealt with each other had a real impact on me. They seemed to have a lot of love and concern for each other,” he stated.
Josh stated he really considered going to one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), but football scholarships started coming. “I got scholarships from other colleges and not the HBCUs” he said, and “they were closer to home and I could visit my family more often. We’re a close family and family is a big part of my upbringing and support system.”
“I wouldn’t give anything for that experience” says Josh. “I encourage every young person in the County to attend one of the tours. It made me who I am today.” Currently, Josh is a Correction Service Officer 1 with Ventura County Probation Agency in the Juvenile Correction Facility unit.
The College Tour featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities is April 12 – 19, 2014. The tour will cover colleges in Louisiana and Texas. A fundraiser, “A Heart for Youth”, by Pinkard Youth Institute is scheduled for Sunday, February 16, 2014 from 3-6 at Residence Inn by Marriott. The cost is $50. Call (805) 988-2326 for tickets or donations for a student to attend this year’s tour.