As the end of his senior year draws near, David City High School senior Carlos Chaves is in the process of planning what's next for him in terms of post-secondary education.
Because Chaves plans on pursuing an education in software development at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he was looking for scholarship opportunities based on his ethnicity during the Oct. 30 Latino Youth Summit at the Ramada Hotel and River's Edge Convention Center, 265 33rd Ave., in Columbus.
Although his post-high school plans haven't been made clear yet, David City High School sophomore James Escamilla was looking for ways to jump-start his scholarship search when he attended the summit.
The overall goal of the event was to inspire attendees to pursue positive futures; from applying to post-secondary education to exploring the workforce. It attracted more than 600 Nebraska high school students from areas like David City, Columbus, Schuyler, Sydney, Lexington and Grand Island.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest community data provided from 2016, 4.6 percent of David City’s total population consists of Hispanic or Latino individuals.
Students were given the independence to select from a variety of sessions throughout the day. They had opportunities to meet with college and university representatives, sit through a panel comprised of Nebraska Public Power District staff who gave an overview of the electric utility industry and participate in tours to Central Community College-Columbus and Behlen Manufacturing in Columbus.
Motivational youth speaker and California native, Gabe Salazar, presented the keynote address and led several sessions throughout the day on future planning.
“It just provides all of our students an opportunity to hear speakers that are successful, and they can look to them as far as mentors or ideas on how they succeeded,” said Ann Fuchs, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Lakeview High School in Columbus.
After speaking with UNO representatives, Chaves left feeling more optimistic and plans to enroll in its University Honors Program.
Representatives from Bellevue University, Central Community College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Southeast Community College, Wayne and Chadron state colleges advised students to conduct as much community service as they can to standout during the scholarship process. They also encouraged participants to explore other financial aid options, such as Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well.
David City resident Jane Shanahan and her husband donated approximately $10,000 in honor of her Latino mother and grandmother which was awarded as leadership scholarships – $1,000 each – to qualifying seniors and juniors graduating in May 2019.
Through the different information students learned from the event, Lakeview High School Guidance Counselor Paige Rambour said she hopes students remain excited about their futures.
“Just to get kids motivated and excited for what’s to come,” Rambour said.
Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.