First Annual Latino Youth Summit a Huge Success “This summit made me 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 - Centro Hispano, Director of Programs
Patricia Brooks - Precollege OPTIONS Program Specialist, Education Outreach and Partnerships, UW Madison School of Education
Co-chairs, Latino Youth Summit
Written by Ismael Cuevas, Centro Hispano
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 Institutes 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 the 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. Afterward, the middle school students presented to the whole audience of parents what they had 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 all of the supporters, community organizations and volunteers who made this event possible.