NORFOLK, Neb. – Latino high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from across the region joined with one another recently in Norfolk to be motivated about lessons in life and to learn more about higher education opportunities.
Northeast Community College hosted its annual Latino Youth Summit that featured several Latino leaders and college students who shared stories on how they broke through barriers and achieved success. They also answered questions from the high school students.
Maria Gonzalez, multicultural recruiter at Northeast’s South Sioux City extended campus, was pleased the College hosted another Latino Youth Summit for area high school students.
“Northeast Community College has been conducting targeted recruiting in the Latino community and the summit demonstrated the effectiveness of connecting the students with counselors and leaders in the Latino community,” Gonzalez said. “Having this event has made a difference in this community as it allows these first-generation students to be exposed to other students and professionals who have overcome cultural barriers.”
Gonzalez said the day included a mix of information in English and Spanish as several ELL (English language learners) students attended the event.
Summit keynote speakers included Ruben Cano, assistant superintendent of secondary education for Unified School District (USD) 480 in Liberal, Kan., a position he began in August. Most recently he served as chief of high schools for the Council Bluffs Community School District in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He has spoken at past Latino Youth Summits at Northeast.
In addition, Liz Codina, a community investment officer for Peter Kiewit Foundation, also spoke to the students. She leads the foundation’s post-secondary access and success work and manages a $35M grant portfolio of special initiatives and scholarship, program, and capital investments across Nebraska.
High school students also heard from a panel of local professionals and Northeast students. Panelists were José R. Hernandez, school counselor at Norfolk Senior High School, and Melissa Figueroa, business resource specialist with the City of Norfolk/Norfolk Area Economic Development Council. She is also a member of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board of Directors. Northeast students participating in the panel discussion were Megan de Leon-Ortega, Schuyler, Alexa Pulido, Norfolk, and Gabriel Vargas, Schuyler. All three serve as student ambassadors at Northeast.
Approximately 100 students from high schools in Columbus, Madison, Norfolk, O’Neill, Schuyler, and Wakefield attend the Latino Youth Summit. In addition, $1,000 tuition scholarships to Northeast were awarded to ten seniors who plan to attend Northeast beginning in Fall 2023.
The day concluded with a performance by the dance group, Cierre & Espectaculo de Danza.
Northeast Community College will host another Latino Youth Summit at its South Sioux City extended campus on Fri., March 17, 2023.
Ruben Cano, assistant superintendent of secondary education for Unified School District (USD) 480 in Liberal, Kan., speaks to high school students during Northeast’s Community College’s annual Latino Youth Summit on the Norfolk campus recently. Cano, who has regularly spoken at the event, was among speakers who addressed the students on how they broke through barriers and achieved success. They also answered questions from the students. Over 100 students from high schools in Columbus, Madison, Norfolk, O’Neill, Schuyler, and Wakefield attended the Latino Youth Summit.