la raza conferenceOn March 17, 2017, Skyline College welcomed over 120 high school students and educators, to the 1st Annual La Raza Youth Conference.  The La Raza Youth Conference was created to provide local Latinx high school students a place for cultural exploration, higher education knowledge sharing, and an opportunity for students to explore their passions.  The Conference aligns with the Skyline College Promise of helping underserved students Get In, Get Through, and Get Out…On Time!

The day featured a keynote address by Dr. Cèsar Cruz, educator, author, and activist.  Dr. Cruz shared memorable insights surrounding his own personal history as an immigrant, the hidden cultural histories and achievements of Latinx activists, and encouraged students to take charge of their education.  According to the conference evaluations, Dr. Cruz’s speech was the highlight of the day for many attendees.  In addition to hearing impactful words from and engaging with Dr. Cruz, students were able to build community with current Puente students and faculty, participate in engaging workshops that focused on topics important to participants, and interact with the greater Skyline College community through a program fair.

This inaugural conference hosted students from: South San Francisco High School’s Hermanos y Hermanas Program, El Camino High School, Jefferson High School, Capuchino High School, and Alternatives in Action High School.   Students received a warm welcome from Dr. Angèlica Garcia who shared personal insights and experiences as a Latina in education, emphasized the importance of education, and encouraged graduating seniors to apply to the Skyline College Promise Scholarship and Summer Scholars Institute.

The event was made possible through the recent allotment of Student Equity Funds and the hard work and dedication of the La Raza Committee Members: Paula Silva, Luciana Castro, Lucia Lachmyr, Jorge Murillo, Jessica Lopez, Martin Marquez, Will Minnich, Iridiàn Martiez, Alfredo Olguin, Cesar Valesquez Chaves, Lucy Jovel, Alberto Santellan, Lili Rivera, and Lauren Ford.  A special thank you to the Puente students, Outreach Ambassadors, Counseling Ambassadors, Student Equity and Support Program Ambassadors, and Monique Hernandez who volunteered their time.  Additionally, thank you to Kevin Chak from the Skyline College Bookstore who generously donated raffle prizes for our guests, as well as Josh Harris, Roger Marcello, and the facilities team who ensured a flawless logistical support throughout the day.

Article by: Lauren Ford | Photo by: William Nacouzi