JOHNNY FLORES, JR/Coachella Unincorporated
COACHELLA – According to the Riverside County of Education, only about 53 percent of Coachella Valley Unified School District graduates pursue higher education.
Raices Cultura wants to improve these numbers and is taking an important step with its first annual “El Poder de Saber” (The Power of Knowing) Higher Education Conference on March 23 at Coachella Valley High School.
“Students should start considering university as soon as they can, college preparation should take place in their freshman year of high school,” said Jocelyn Vargas, director of community programs of Raices Cultura, a youth organization based in Coachella.
The conference, geared toward younger high school students and their families, begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Congressman Raul Ruiz and Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez, both Coachella Valley High School graduates who went on to Harvard University, will speak at the conference.
Several different workshops will help students develop their personal statements, encourage parents to support their college-bound students, and provide information on the financial aid/scholarship application process.
The purpose of this event is, “To foster interest in higher education by providing information on how to apply to universities, from the process of college applications to financial aid,” said Vargas. “The event will also provide valuable information for undocumented students in their pursuit of higher education. The event will also provide the opportunity to talk with current college students and professionals about careers and college in general.”
Panelists will include representatives from Pathways to Success, Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Noteamerica, and institutions of higher education – in addition to local students, educators, and professionals.
Coachella Unincorporated will also participate in the conference.
Vargas added, “[My hope is] that the community will be able to support students in accessing higher education in order to improve our communities, recognizing that hard work but also education, is the means to improve our community conditions and youth will be the one’s leading these changes.”