GGUSD Hosts 6th Annual Latinos Unidos Conference

 Administration, staff, district leaders, and students from GGUSD’s Latinos Unidos clubs gather for a group picture at the 6th Annual Latinos Unidos Conference.

The sixth annual Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) Latino Unidos Conference was held January 12 on the campus of California State University California, Fullerton with over 200 students in attendance. The conference is organized by district-level Latinos Unidos student board members to provide leadership training and help students prepare for academic, personal, and lifelong success.

During the leadership conference, students attended a networking fair and exchanged business cards with area professionals, learned about community resources and Latino organizations, and were introduced to potential part-time job opportunities after high school.  

“This event provides our students in the district’s Latino Unidos clubs with valuable lessons and information that can carry with them well beyond the event,” said Teri Rocco, GGUSD Board of Education vice president. “They gain valuable insights into a variety of fantastic topics during breakout sessions, from embracing biliteracy and biculturalism to navigating the path to college.

A tour of the college campus was provided by students from CSUF’s Hermanos and Hermanas Unidos.  Additionally, students attended workshops led by Latinos Unidos alumni on topics like cultural consciousness, leadership in the 21st century, public speaking, club representation in the community, navigating the path to college, finances, budgeting, financial aid, and scholarships.  The event is sponsored by the Orange County United Way, one of the district’s longtime supporters of Latinos Unidos.   

GGUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriela Mafi opened up the conference by defining the essence of what the Latinos Unidos club stands for and explaining the foundation by which it was created. Students also heard from Ms. Chalea Forgues, from Cal State Fullerton; GGUSD Board of Education Trustees; and Sergio Contreras of Orange County United Way.

The Latinos Unidos program was launched to provide a unique system of supports to GGUSD Latinos Unidos students through tutoring, mentorship, community service, college preparation and cultural events. More than 50 percent of GGUSD students are Hispanic/Latino, more than 75 percent are socioeconomically disadvantaged and more than 80 percent have a second language background. 

With help from a club advisor, each of the district’s eight high schools have visible, active Latinos Unidos clubs.  The clubs help embrace and honor student’s rich cultural heritage and provide them with a framework to achieve success. 

Students are planning a Latinos Unidos Cultural Night with food, activities, and performances on Friday, March 1, 2019, 5:30 p.m. at Los Amigos High School.