Middle school students gathered Tuesday at Grand Rapids Community College for the 15th Latino Youth Conference, hosted to inspire and teach them about the value of higher education to achieve their dreams.
Students from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo attended the conference that opened with a presentation by motivational youth speaker Gabe Salazar, who encouraged attendees to achieve their dreams by sharing his personal story. This was Salazar’s third time speaking at the event.
Salazar’s message to students is based on how he faced numerous obstacles throughout his youth yet he was able to overcome them and achieve success through education.
“I believe that any kid across America can overcome any struggle that they face in life,” said Salazar, “but that happens through the power of education.”
During the conference, two high school students, Leticia Mosqueda from Wyoming High School and Sabrina Barrera from Ottawa Hills High School were rewarded with the Roberto Saenz Academic Achievement Scholarship and the Gil Guzman Academic Progress Scholarship respectively. Each scholarship awarded the amount of $1,000.
Another high school student named Daniel Lopez from Grand Rapids City High School was also recognized during the event for his artwork, which was chosen for the second time as the conference’s logo.
“I’m just showing through my art pieces that you should work hard to be successful,” said Lopez. “And that education is the pathway to success.”
Students also had the opportunity to learn about higher education and study skills through a variety of workshops hosted by presenters from GRCC and other institutions.