NECC Hosts Latino Youth Summit

29 Wakefield Juniors and Seniors Attend

 The Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College's campus was the host site for the 2022 Latino Youth Summit. After a welcome given by Northeast staff, the morning keynote presentation was given by Ruben Cano, an assistant superintendent of secondary education in Liberal, Kansas.  He inspired students by encouraging them to make change happen if they have something to complain about rather than just complaining.  He also motivated them to look ahead and think about what they wanted their biographies to say in the future.  He emphasized his expectation for them to be successful and achieve big goals.  He said, "If a door is closed, open it.  If it is locked, you knock until they let you in."  His presentation was followed by a tour of NECC's campus and dorms.  


The afternoon consisted of a panel discussion that included three NECC students and three successful Latino professionals from around the area.  One of the three professionals was our very own band and choir director at Wakefield Community Schools, Ms. Esly Ovando.  The other two professionals, a school counselor from Norfolk and a lawyer, along with Ms. Ovando and the NECC college students told their personal stories, encouraged students to have a goal and pursue it, and never to give up making a better life for themselves.  The keynote presentation followed this for the afternoon which was given by Liz Codina, a community investment officer for Peter Kiewit Foundation.  She leads the foundation's postsecondary access and success work.  Her presentation was given entirely in Spanish which was very beneficial for our English Language Learners attending the event.  She focused on the concept of grit and how students can strengthen their grit by following through on their commitments.  Before the day ended, Gael Sotelo was one of 10 high schoolers from the Northeast Nebraska area that won a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship to NECC.  The event closed on an upbeat note with authentic Spanish dancers.  The Latino Summit was a great experience for all students; they left NECC feeling inspired and excited.