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U students plan daylong conference for Latino high school students.

The University of Utah is hosting nearly 1,700 Latino youth Thursday, April 26, for the annual Latinos in Action conference. The high school students will participate in cultural dances and performances, attend workshops on a variety of topics, including strengthening civic engagement, and some will receive thousands of dollars in scholarships

Latinos in Action is a Utah-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the educational gap in the Latino community through leadership classes taught at middle and high schools and by facilitating cultural, leadership, service and educational experiences. The nonprofit recently expanded to offer programs in Florida and California.

The conference theme, “I Can, We Will,” focuses on students using higher education to find their voices and passions, as well as helping them succeed in becoming community leaders and trailblazers. The event features two keynote speakers, Joaquín Zihuatanejo, a poet, spoken word artist and award-winning teacher; and Jeffrey Allen Mendez, an entrepreneur, marketer and sales training expert.

The U’s student chapter of Latinos in Action was heavily involved in planning the daylong conference, meeting weekly to secure space, invite presenters, gather volunteers and more. The U’s chapter also helped coordinate the cultural celebrations and dances by LIA students in local high schools. Those performances will take place in the afternoon at the Hunstman Center on the University of Utah campus.

“We are delighted to host this conference for the fourth consecutive year,” said Sandi Pershing, assistant vice president of the U’s Office of Engagement. “We’re committed to connecting young people to higher education so they can envision a future full of opportunity.”

About the University of Utah Office of Engagement

The U’s Office of Engagement works to connect the community with the promises of higher education through helping young people imagine and believe they can go to college, mentoring and preparing them through the process and by fostering achievement through counseling, engagement and the creation of a safe space to learn and discover.