First Annual Latino Youth Summit a Huge Success

“This summit made realize how important college is to my success” – Carmen Chimal, Latino Youth Summit participant

“With this summit, we are building future leaders that will work to advance the well being of the Madison community” – Mario Garcia Sierra

Written by Ismael Cuevas

Our 1st Annual Latino Youth Summit was a huge success. During three days of in-depth workshops and cultural development activities, 80 middle school students from all over Madison convened at UW-Madison and Centro Hispano. The students were highly motivated and participative throughout the whole summit as activities were held in the newly opened Union South and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. As the summit went on, students began to understand the importance of their education given that every workshop and activity was centered on completing high school and getting into college. The theme for the summit,” On my way to College,” encouraged students to think about their personal responsibility as an important step for pursuing a college degree.

Emphasis on cultural development played a crucial role in engaging Latino middle school students to think about higher education. Local Madison artists and educators presented workshops on hip-hop, spoken word, poetry, break dancing, muralism, traditional Mexican music Son Jarocho, and capoiera. It was obvious from the look of the students’ faces that they were enjoying and learning from all the cultural activities that they participated in during the past three days. Academic activities were also a major component of the summit. Students had the unique opportunity to work in a plant pathology lab at UW-Madison for two days examining the effects of fungi and bacteria on plant leaves. They also had to opportunity to work with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers in workshops designed for students to explore engineering. These were just few of the activities that were available throughout the three day summit.

On the third and final day of the summit, parents and family members of the students were invited to Centro Hispano to partake in the closing ceremony which awarded Certificates of Recognition to all the students that participated in the summit. Afterwards, the middle school students presented to the whole audience of parents what they have learned over the length of the three days. Parents clapped enthusiastically as they heard their children speak about their aspirations of attending college some day in the future. We expect that within the next five to seven years, this cohort of students will be the next generation of Latinos to be accepted into the top universities of this country.

Special thanks to the UW-Madison School of Education, Education Outreach and Partnerships, Precollege OPTIONS and all of the supporters community organizations and volunteers who made this event possible.

Nuestra primera Latino Youth Summit fue un gran éxito. Durante tres días de talleres y actividades de desarrollo cultural, 80 estudiantes de las secundarias en Madison fueron convocados en la Universidad de Wisconsin-Madison y en el Centro Hispano de Dane County. Los alumnos estaban muy motivados y participativos a lo largo de la cumbre. Todas las actividades se celebraron en el recién inaugurado Union South y Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Los estudiantes comenzaron a entender la importancia de su educación, ya que cada taller y actividad se enfoco en terminar la preparatoria y entrar a la universidad. El tema de la cumbre, “En mi camino a la universidad”, animó a los estudiantes a pensar en su responsabilidad personal como un paso importante para la consecución de un título universitario.

Énfasis en el desarrollo cultural es un tema fundamental en involucrar a los estudiantes latinos de secundaria a pensar sobre la educación superior. Artistas locales de Madison y educadores presentaron talleres de hip-hop, el spoken word, poesía, break dance, el muralismo, la música tradicional mexicana Son Jarocho, y capoeira. Era obvio que los estudiantes estaban disfrutando y aprendiendo de todas las actividades culturales en las que participaron en los últimos tres días. Las actividades académicas fueron también un componente importante de la cumbre. Los estudiantes tuvieron la oportunidad única de trabajar en un laboratorio de fitopatología de la UW-Madison durante dos días examinando los efectos de los hongos y bacterias en las hojas de las plantas. También tuvieron la oportunidad de trabajar con la Sociedad de Ingenieros Profesionales Hispanos en talleres diseñados para los estudiantes a explorar la ingeniería. Estas fueron sólo algunas de las actividades que estaban disponibles a través de la cumbre.

En el tercer y último día de la cumbre, los padres y miembros de familia de los estudiantes fueron invitados al Centro Hispano para participar en la ceremonia de clausura que otorgó certificados de reconocimiento a todos los estudiantes que participaron en la cumbre. Posteriormente, los estudiantes de secundaria presentaron a toda la audiencia de los padres lo que han aprendido a lo largo de los tres días. Los padres aplaudieron con entusiasmo al escuchar a sus hijos hablar de sus aspiraciones de asistir a la universidad algún día en el futuro. Esperamos que en los próximos cinco a siete años, este grupo de estudiantes será la próxima generación de latinos para ser aceptados en las mejores universidades de este país.

Gracias al UW-Madison School of Education, Education Outreach and Partnerships, Precollege OPTIONS y a todos los organizaciones y voluntarios que colaboraran para realizar este evento.

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