Latino Youth Leadership Conference

GEAR UP 4 LA Latino freshman at UCSB's Latino Youth Leadership Conference

On May 17th and 18th, 29 GEAR UP 4 LA high school freshman (an all-male group) traveled to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) for the Latino Youth Leadership Conference.

The UCSB chapter of the Latino fraternity Gamma Zeta Alpha organized and hosted the leadership conference, which was intended to motivate and prepare Latino high school students to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

For two days, the students attended workshops on college readiness and leadership skills.

The workshops covered topics such as A-G requirements, financial aid, California’s higher education system, and time management.

GEAR UP students were thrilled to have the opportunity to stay in actual UCSB campus dormitories and to eat at a UCSB dining ‘commons’. Other highlights of the trip included pizza and bowling at a local campus favorite, during which time students were able to experience college life outside of the classroom.

Sergio Ceja, GEAR UP Counselor and one of three trip chaperons, shared how meaningful it was “to see the boys picturing themselves attending UCSB in four years.”

Manuel Rico, GEAR UP Program Assistant and trip chaperon, similarly revealed that “the trip was very informative and eye opening for a lot of the boys.”

Kelvin Martinez, a GEAR UP student from the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, raved about his experience visiting the UCSB campus. Said Martinez, “it was the best experience…to get to know what actual college life is like.”

Read more in upcoming newsletters about how GU4LA exposes students to college campuses throughout their middle and high school years.