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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Student Reflection: Latino Youth Conference at UIUC


by Megan Knight

This past Friday I volunteered at the Latino Youth Conference. I thought that it was a really good cause to try to motivate Latino high school students to go to college. A lot of the students there were first generation prospective college students and I feel like they really got a feel for college. In one of the workshops that I helped out in, the students learned about the application process and what universities look for when determining whom they’re going to accept. I could tell the kids were really interested because they were asking a lot of questions about how important ACT scores are versus how important grades are, etc. I thought it was a really good activity for the kids and I know they took a lot away from it.

It was also interesting in the fact that EVERYONE there was Latino except for maybe 3 or 4 volunteers. I have never really felt like an outsider or felt uncomfortable for being a minority before, but I can honestly say I felt a little out of place there. It was really a big eye opener to how other races feel when they are severely outnumbered. I never really understood that because I had never experienced it, but now I can relate when someone says he/she felt like an outsider for being the minority. I also thought it was a tricky situation to be in because we volunteers were there to try to keep the kids focused and make sure they were paying attention during the lectures and workshops, but I did not really feel like I had the authority to tell them to be quiet and stop messing around. I forgot how immature high school students could be, so it really made me appreciate the teachers and chaperones that accompanied them. All in all I thought the conference went really well, and I got to see a performance by the hip hop group, Rebel Diaz, that was really inspirational and entertaining. To make it even better, two of the three group members are Chilean and...well, very good looking, so needless to say I really enjoyed the performance!

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Megan. I'm glad that it went well. Did you get a chance to talk to Jessica from class?

    I understand what you mean--when you experience for yourself what it is like to be different (in some way) from the others around you, it can really open your eyes.

    I have really enjoyed reading your posts (and Sarah's) this semester.

    Ann

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  2. I did get to see a lot of Jessica on Friday. She really was running the show and she did a great job.

    It was a really neat experience!

    Megan

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