On the SMU Campus, Hispanic High School Students are Getting a Taste of College

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

A cluster of local educators and politicos -- among them Mayor Tom Leppert, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, SMU President Gerald Turner and DISD trustee Edwin Flores -- gathered in the stately atrium of SMU's Owen Arts Center yesterday afternoon to kick off the inaugural Dallas Hispanic Youth Symposium. Two hundred North Texas Hispanic students are attending the four-day leadership program, which is being hosted by the non-profit Hispanic College Fund and SMU and which is designed to give high-school sophomores and juniors the "firsthand" college experience with the guidance of role models and mentors. Of more than 3,000 alumni in six cities, organizers say, 90 percent have attended college.

"I like to think of this as changing the paradigm in Dallas from minority students going to college being a fluke to being the norm," Flores said.

Over the next few days, participating students will attend workshops on writing college essays and taking the SATs and ACTs; they'll also meet with college admissions officers and compete in speech, talent, essay and art competitions where $14,000 in scholarship funds are up for grabs.

Hinojosa spoke about growing up in Dallas and highlighted the importance of reaching out to students who don't see themselves as being worthy of attending college -- or who simply think that getting accepted and paying for it would be impossible.

"You don't realize the impact you can have on these young people -- that they can walk through this beautiful campus and think, 'I can be a part of this and my life can change,'" he told the audience.

George Cushman, the Hispanic College Fund's VP of programs, said that of the 3,000 alumni who went on to attend college, a number of them graduated from prestigious schools such as Stanford and MIT: "We're changing the trajectory they have and setting the bar higher."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.