ALAS logo showing wings and graduation cap

“Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success,” was carefully selected because its abbreviation (“ALAS”) means wings in Spanish.

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) 656-6999
Anna Cearley-Rivas, NHU Public Relations, (619) 301-3701

SAN JOSE, Calif., — San Jose State University will collaborate with The National Hispanic University and the Santa Clara County Superintendents Association to host the third biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success (ALAS) conference Feb. 11 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 third biennial Advancing Latino/a Achievement and Success conference,” said SJSU 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.”

Speakers will include SJSU alumnus Luis Valdez (founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, writer and director of the film “La Bamba,” and playwright for “Zoot Suit) and Enrique Guerra (an Archbishop Mitty High School freshman who garnered national acclaim when a video (right) of a speech he made on the tremendous odds against Latino youth attending college was posted on YouTube).

“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 The National Hispanic University President David López. “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 The National Hispanic University to help spread this message!”

The conference will begin with a formal welcome by President Qayoumi and President López, followed by a keynote address by Valdez. 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

Feb. 11, 2012

8:30 a.m.
Welcome – President Mohammad Qayoumi, San Jose State University
Welcome – José Manzo, Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Superintendent
Welcome – President David López, The National Hispanic University
Keynote – Luis Valdez, playwright and director
Entertainment – Grupo Folklórico Luna y Sol

9:15 a.m.
Break-Out Session #1

10:30 a.m.
Break-Out Session #2

11:30 a.m.
Lunch & Awards – Manny Barbara, Silicon Valley Education Foundation
Closing – Enrique Guerra, Archbishop Mitty High School freshman
Closing – San Jose Mayor Chuck R. Reed
Entertainment – Mariachi Tradicional, Alum Rock Union Elementary School District

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.

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