OGDEN, Utah – A university is an exciting place to establish an excellent foundation for the future. America Ferrera, best known for her role as Betty Suarez on the television series “Ugly Betty,” is one of the speakers who will emphasize this point to more than 1,200 high school and junior high school students as they participate in the Latinos in Action (LIA) conference at Weber State University, March 13 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The conference will bring students from 22 high schools and 13 junior high schools together for a day of workshops, cultural activities and leadership training. The majority of the LIA students attend schools in Northern Utah, but others will come from as far away as the Granite School District to the south and Jerome, Idaho, to the north.
LIA is a year-round leadership course where students initiate and carry out youth activities and service projects. The course also educates and prepares junior and senior high students to tutor elementary students in literacy and mathematics.
Advocates of LIA say students who participate in the program learn that education is the key to lifelong success and that they should continue their education through college.
The statistics are impressive. Approximately 15,000 students have participated in LIA since its inception in Utah in 2003. Of those, 98 percent have graduated from high school and 85 percent have enrolled in college.
Students who participate in LIA are expected to maintain a passing grade point average while getting involved in extracurricular activities.
According to Utah’s LIA director Jose Enriquez, extracurricular involvement helps many students integrate into a high school environment.
“The scholastic requirements, along with the service component of the class, enable the students to work toward closing the education gap between Latinos and other students,” Enriquez said.
While at Weber State for the conference, students will receive a first-hand introduction to life at the university, including information about admissions, financial aid and academic programs.
“Latino students can get an excellent education at WSU,” said Eulogio Alejandre, WSU’s Student 2 Student coordinator with Education Access & Outreach. “Conferences like this one provide an opportunity to showcase our campus, faculty and programs.”
Participants will begin the day at 8:30 a.m. in the Browning Center to hear keynote speaker America Fererra. That address will be followed by workshops from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Shepherd Union.
After lunch, students will return to the Browning Center for cultural presentations of music and dance and a concluding address by the LIA director.
Throughout the day, LIA members also will have time to visit tables and displays set up in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms with information about college admissions, scholarships, financial aid, degrees, programs, clubs and organizations, housing, activities and other information pertinent to a college education.
Visit latinosinaction.org for information about Latinos in Action.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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