Organizers Seek to Boost College Attendance and Graduation Rates by Offering Latino Students and Families Information and Encouragement
Fernanda P. Karp, SJSU Student Affairs, (408) 924-1162
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, (408) 924-1748
SAN JOSE, Calif., – San Jose State University will collaborate with the Santa Clara County Superintendents Association, the Consulado General de Mexico en San José and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley to host the fourth biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success (ALAS) conference March 15 at SJSU. Almost 100 speakers and presenters will offer 1,500 Latino fifth through 10th graders and their families the information they need to prepare for college. Registration is closed, but the media is welcome to attend. (Please see schedule below.)
“San Jose State University is pleased to host the fourth biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success conference,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “SJSU is committed to accessibility and places high value in reaching out to all families as they prepare for higher education. We want to demonstrate to students and their parents that a college education is indeed attainable, especially when you start planning early for the college application process.”
Rich in Culture, Tradition, Values and Faith
The keynote speaker this year is Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, who became the highest ranked Latina in the Combat Support Field of the U.S. Army. Kickbusch is a renowned, charismatic, passionate and influential speaker with a mission to empower the next generation of leaders. Born and raised along the border in a small barrio in Laredo, Texas, Kickbusch is all too familiar with the challenges of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy. Although she grew up without material wealth, Kickbusch was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values and faith.
We all are partners in the shared mission to improve college opportunities for our local K-12 students, and this conference is one example of that,” said SJSU Director of Campus and Community Relations Fernanda P. Karp. “The success of our region’s Latino and Latina students is integral to the future success of our state’s economy, and that success starts with making sure that students are aware of and prepared for getting into college.”
The idea for this conference springs from a need to increase the number of college-bound Latino students in Silicon Valley. According to the Silicon Valley Latino Report Card 2011, 14 percent of Latinos have a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 52% of non-Latinos. This event also reflects the California State University External Relations mission, which includes ensuring the needs of students with the least opportunity are recognized as a high priority.
“It’s never too early to start setting the course for college!” said Evergreen School District Superintendent Kathy Gomez. “Helping students and their families realize that college is not only possible — but it’s also accessible right here in San Jose — is what ALAS is all about. The Santa Clara County Superintendents Association is very happy to work with San Jose State University and our partners to help spread this message!”
The conference will begin with a formal welcome by President Qayoumi and Mexican Consul General to San Jose Carlos Ponce followed by a keynote address by Lt. Col. Ret. Castillo Kickbusch. Then, students and their families will attend workshops on campus. Topics will include academic skills, parental involvement, college-student life, and the long-term benefits of higher education.
All Santa Clara County school districts were given the opportunity to invite top Latino students. The conference title, “Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success,” was carefully selected because its abbreviation (“ALAS”) means wings in Spanish.
Advancing Latina/o Achievement and Success Conference
SJSU Event Center
March 15, 2014
Welcome – President Mohammad Qayoumi, San Jose State University
Welcome – Kathy Gomez, Santa Clara County Superintendent Association and Fernanda P. Karp, San Jose State University
Welcome –Consul General Carlos Ponce, Mexican Consulate in San José
Keynote – Lt. Col. Ret. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch
Entertainment – Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Mariachi Tradicional
Break-Out Session #1
Break-Out Session #2
End of Program
San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.