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Educating Hispanic Teenagers

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This past month I was able to speak to a group of 40 pre-teens in Cleburne, Texas. In my presentation to the students I asked how many of them had ever seen a college degree. To my dismay less than a quarter of the room raised their hands. So then I asked how many of them wanted to see and touch a college degree. 100% of them raised their hands and so then I went on to unravel three degrees that I had available. Once was mine and the other my wife’s and the third one belonged to a good friend of mine who was hosting the event.

One by one I began to uncover the degrees that were sitting in their own displays ready to be hung back on the wall. You could hear the ewwws and ahhhhs from the students as I uncovered them all. I told them that each one represented over $40,000 of tuition fees. Truth is they were worth way more than that to the person who has achieved such success academically.

See Hispanics tend to have several odds against them when they attend college. For one, very few have school paid for in its entirety when they begin. So the amount of Hispanics who work while taking college courses is high. When students have to work and go to school at the same time, an area of life suffers. There are times when all areas of life suffer due to stress and this is why many start but few finish. So for students to be able to see and touch three bachelor degrees was huge that day.

The real reason why I wanted them to see and touch them was so that they can catch a vision and dream about going and finishing school one day. This is why it’s important to start educating Hispanic teenagers about finishing high school and moving on to a higher education. Every generation of Hispanic students should go a little further than the last. Why? Because it’s achievable. Just like the Olympics, records continue to be broken every four years. The same is true in Hispanic education; we continue get further ahead than those of previous generations.

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  1. Leslie Spillman

    When did you speak to these kids in Cleburne and where in Cleburne? I teach at Smith Middle School and was just now searching online for help with our Hispanic kids. They are not motivated and education is just not a priority for them. I am look for ways to get them on track. It is nice to know you came here and helped some of our kids.