Last Friday, on September 8th, students from North, East and CSA had the opportunity to attend Éxito Latino, an event organized by volunteers to teach students about life after high school. One of the volunteers was Jana Thompson, a Chinese teacher.
“It is an opportunity to hear from Latino college students about the pathways to different majors in college, about different opportunities for working in Columbus while they are students in college and about what classes are helpful to take while you are still in high school. It is also a day and a place to meet Latino students from other high schools, enjoy lunch and music together, and to celebrate being a part of this large group of students here in Bartholomew County,” Thompson said.
Éxito Latino started a few years ago, but this year was the first time it has held in Columbus. It took place at the Columbus Learning Center and lasted most of the school day. The event began with careers sessions led by students in college about business finance, business management, computer engineering, education, government and social service, law, public safety, mechanical engineering, nursing and one for undecided students.
“The students talked about their background, where they were born, what schools they went to, where they applied to college and then they talked about the classes they take in college. They try to relate to the high school students and talked about their struggles with applying to college, finances and how they overcame those challenges. They also talked the students about career opportunities,” Thompson said.
The high school students also got the opportunity to listen to Garcia Patiño, the keynote speaker. Patiño graduated from IUPUC and now works for BCSC as a kindergarten teacher at Clifty Creek Elementary School.
“She encouraged students that though they may feel unprepared or unable to do this college and career thing, she was like them. She was encouraging them most of all that they could do it too,” Thompson said.
At the end of the event, representatives from multiple colleges across Indiana talked to students about going to college, how to apply and what types of financial aid are available to them. The goal the organizers had for Éxito Latino was to help students learn about the opportunities that were open to them after high school.
“They want students to learn that going to college is possible no matter if they are DACA students or not, if they were born here or not. They want them to understand the pathways to be successful an to not only get into college but to continue. They want them to see role models of other Latino students who have been in their situations before,” Thompson said.