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NW Ohio Latino students experience ‘College Life for a Day’ at UT’s Latino Youth Summits

 

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent

 

The University of Toledo showcased what college life looks like for nearly 600 Latino middle school and high school students over a two-day period, May 15 and 16, 2018. The annual Latino Youth Summit is aimed at educating and motivating prospective college students by exposing them to possible careers and areas of study beyond high school.

 

“This is our 16th annual Latino Youth Summit,” said Aleiah Jones, program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Success at UT and committee chair of the event. “It has a legacy in our community as being the largest gathering of Latino youth in Northwest Ohio.”

 

Another goal of the summit is to equip students and families with information and resources for college planning, in addition to information about pre-high school and pre-college course work. For example, students participated in hands-on activities in different fields such as pharmacy, nursing, and engineering. Any college credits gained through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program or through a career-tech education (CTE) program are free, an equivalent way of gaining a scholarship for higher education.

 

The annual summit aims to encourage students to strive for success and a promising future through their academics now and going forward, while also instilling a pride in their heritage. The over-arching, long-term effect is hoped to address the Latino achievement gap across the region, by helping students and families become motivated to finish high school, graduate, and seek a better life through a college education.

 

“We just want them to know that no matter what they’ve been through, no matter what they’ve been told in their lives, that they can be successful, that they can achieve their goals,” said Ms. Jones. “That was the message from our keynote speaker—that success is a lifestyle. That’s what we want them to take away.”

 

The keynote speaker for the event was Josué “JQ” Quiñones, an educator and life coach of Puerto Rican descent who hails from the Bronx, New York. Mr. Quiñones addressed the students in UT’s Thompson Student Union Auditorium on both days of the summit.

 

Mr. Quiñones shared his story about attending college to create a better life for himself. He is dedicated to inspiring and providing motivation to audiences along with encouraging them to live a “quality lifestyle built for success.” He has spoken to more than 20,000 students and professionals. Throughout his presentation, Quiñones remind students “success is a lifestyle.”

 

Mr. Quiñones talked about taking a bad path at first while growing up in a rough and rugged neighborhood. But at a personal crossroads, he credited his family and several mentors for putting him on a better life path. Quiñones started his professional career as a counselor and social worker, but now speaks to students about “taking control of their identity and stories” so they can find their purpose on life’s path.

“As he frequently shares, his life experience has led him to truly believe what you actively and consistently engage in, or surround yourself with, is a determining factor of success,” said Ms. Jones, noting many of the attendees were from Toledo Public Schools, but other school districts across the region were represented at the Latino Youth Summit, including Whitmer and Archbold school districts.

 

High school students who registered and attended the event were eligible to apply for the President’s Summit Award, worth $2,000 annually. Ten of these scholarships were awarded and will include room and board for each recipient’s first year.

 

The day’s activities also included a scavenger hunt, raffles, free T-shirts, volleyball games, a resource and college fair with ten universities and community colleges represented, and various presentations on scholarships, financial literacy, and ACT test preparation.

“LYS was such a success and so much fun! I'm so glad & lucky to have been a part of this event!” wrote Lexi Alvarado on her Facebook page. “I'm so lucky to have amazing role models to look up to! I had such an amazing time and I can't wait for next year!”

 

Members of UT’s chapter of the Latino Student Union volunteered to serve as mentors and guides to the younger students. Volunteer track leaders included: Mylicia Rángel, Angela López, Malaika Bell, Betty Anzaldua, Angie Durán, and Jerry Natal.

 

Ohio Latino Affairs Commissioner Dr. Greg Guzmán also was on hand to participate and lend a hand in the day's activities. Dr. Michele Soliz, UT assistant vice president of inclusion and student success, also played a large role in planning the event.

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/29/18 10:45:49 -0700.

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