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Black excellence on display through YouthBuild Philly's "I Can, I Will" social media campaign

YouthBuild Philly's "I Can, I Will" campaign celebrates students' Black excellence
YouthBuild Philly's "I Can, I Will" campaign celebrates students' Black excellence 03:23

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As Black History Month comes to an end, a local high school is celebrating Black student excellence through a social media campaign.

At YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, students ages 17-21 are equipped with the resources to earn a high school diploma and trade certification.

And to help uplift those students this month, public relations specialist Khalil Bullock came up with the "I Can, I Will" campaign.

"It was a unique opportunity for us to honor Black History Month a very different way this year. We wanted to celebrate our students, their Black excellence, the joy and the magic they bring to our community each day," Bullock said.

This year's theme was "Shades of Melanin," and throughout the last 10 days of Black History Month, the school posted a picture of a student posing with their own personal message.

CEO Le'Yondo Dunn said one those messages, "I will always smile, even if it's the only thing that lights up the darkness. My brown skin is my superpower - a gift from my ancestors," still gives him the chills when he hears it.

" At YouthBuild Philly, they are realizing their full potential. We see their full humanity," Dunn said of his students, who he described not as dropouts, but as young people pushed out of many schools because of various circumstances.

"These young people are so much more" | YouthBuild Philly campaign spotlights student excellence by CBS Philadelphia on YouTube

One of those students, Adriana Avila, has overcome many obstacles throughout her life. A mom by age 13, Adriana said she was pushed down a rough path as a teenager. "But having my son always give me that inspiration to be my best self, to be a role model for him, and just show him that we can be better," she said.

"The statistic that Philadelphia youth has, it's not all of us, and we can show that it's better in this city," Avila added.

For Bullock, the most important thing that comes from this year's campaign is that all students feel seen and heard.

"I hope that people take away from this campaign that these young people are so much more than what is pushed out publicly, than what they see and here. These young people are eager, they are ambitious and they are ready to take over the world," he said.

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