Santa Maria High School graduate Jazmin Ramirez, who now attends UCSB, returned to his alma mater to talk to Chicano/Latino Studies and U.S. history students about the 30th annual Latine College Day.
Other UCSB students talked to the students as well about the annual event, set for April 29 at the university.
Latine College Day began as Raza College Day 30 years ago by a group of dedicated students who felt the need to address the lack of Chicanx/Latinx students at UCSB and the broader higher education system, said Erik Magana, UCSB student and guest speaker.
The one-day outreach event, which is hosted by El Congreso de UCSB, will include about 400 students from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, Mr. Magaña added in a news release.
“The presentation that the UCSB students gave our class was very enlightening,’’ said Marlene Rodriguez, a junior at Santa Maria High School. “They talked a lot about prioritizing your mental well-being and that it’s important for you to continue to take care of yourself even when you feel stressed or have been swamped with homework. They helped me understand that the cost of burning yourself out can be worse than taking a day just to be you.
“Also, they touched on what it means being a Latinx college student and how it is important to find your people and friends that can help you do and be better. Even in a college where they lack diversity, finding your people is important. They elaborated how making connections with different and new people is vital as well.’’
“I am a proud alumnus of Latine College Day,’’ said Ricardo Valencia, a Chicano/Latino studies teacher at Santa Maria High School. “When I attended this conference in high school, it inspired me to become an educator so I can uplift my community through education.
“Seeing and hearing from Latinx college students was a mirror of what I could become. It also reminded me of the importance of being proud of my Chicano heritage. This conference has a profound impact on all the students that attend.’’