Within minutes the workshop was filled with pain. Quietly, deliberately, the 20 or so black male students told of their frustrations.

The frustration of wanting the material goods flaunted by television, with a society that assumes they will not succeed, of growing up without a father or, alternately, fathers who too roughly push them toward manhood.

Listen to Frank, 15, a Walker Mill Middle School student, who confessed that it hurts when his father pampers his sister but tells him to get a job to pay for the things he wants. Briefly, Frank thought about work as a drug runner for his cousins but was talked out of it by his mother.

Then there is B.S.H., 17, an Eastern High School senior who sold drugs, survived a shootout and went to 11 funerals of his friends before leaving the streets and returning to school.

The two youths asked that their full names not be used.

Frank and B.S.H. sat on opposite sides of a conference table yesterday; Frank and other students listening, B.S.H. preaching. "It was cool to sell drugs, to have a beeper . . . . Now it's cool to do your {home}work," said B.S.H., who has won a four-year athletic scholarship to DePauw University in Indiana.

The conference was the first of several planned efforts by Concerned Black Men Inc. and the Prince George's County school system to turn around black male students' grades and suspension and dropout rates by holding man-to-man sessions on a variety of subjects.

Yesterday's conference at Central High School in Capitol Heights explored the lure of the drug culture and developing self-esteem, and featured a males-only discussion of the myths and consequences surrounding sexual activity. It was attended by 110 black, male middle school students from District Heights and Capitol Heights, several parents and teachers and members of the organization. There were recent graduates of local high schools and standout students at area colleges as well as former drug users or sellers.

"The one thing that we want them to take away from this is . . . the ability to say, 'If you can do it, I can do it,' " said Jesse L. Dungy, a Concerned Black Men member and coordinator of the conference.

The organization has long been active in communities throughout the nation, including the District, where, since 1982, volunteers have spent hundreds of hours tutoring black male students, holding workshops and sponsoring oratory contests.

Yesterday signaled the first foray into Prince George's County, where in recent years the 106,000-student school system has received national praise for its improvements. But locally there are concerns about the disproportionate numbers of black male students who are in special education classes, and because black males make up 59 percent of all student suspensions and almost 40 percent of the dropouts.

To reverse the trend, a panel on black male achievement this summer recommended a $120 million package that included smaller class sizes in all schools, replacing the existing Eurocentric curriculum with one that better reflects the experiences of blacks, women and non-European cultural groups and hiring more black teachers, counselors and administrators, particularly black male professionals.

The plan is supported by School Superintendent John A. Murphy, but has run into budget constraints imposed by a sagging economy and recent county layoffs and cutbacks. The panel did get a promise of $2 million from the county government to begin implementing the plan, but no further commitment on additional resources.

Wayne K. Curry, chairman of the panel, said the achievement of students in the county's majority-black Milliken II schools, which have smaller classes than neighborhood schools, additional support staff and enhanced computer and library resources, shows that black students, including black males, can do well if the resources are there.

"We have to Millikenize all the schools," said Curry, who spoke at the conference. "I'm optimistic that {the $2 million} will be seed money for the $120 million needed."