SALSA helps to recruit Latino high school students

Alexia Harris

Kent State students gave a group of about 20 Latino high schoolers a taste of college yesterday, providing information on topics ranging from majors, student organizations and athletics.

The high school students met in the Student Center as part of a program called ASPIRA, which means to “aspire to greater heights” in Spanish. ASPIRA is an annual program sponsored by the Office of Admissions, SALSA and Alpha Psi Lambda, said Eboni Pringle, assistant director of admissions.

Admiral King, Southview and Clearview High Schools of Lorain and Lincoln West High School of Cleveland were invited, but only students from three high schools attended the program.

“We thought about including schools from other than Cleveland and Lorain, but sometimes the invited schools don’t fully participate,” Pringle said.

She said the schools were invited because of the heavy concentration of Latino students in the communities.

“We tried to form partnerships with the schools to attract Latino and Hispanic students to Kent State,” she said.

The program has existed for eight years, but four years ago Pringle decided to limit the number of students that could attend to help keep the program personal.

“I wanted students to be able to connect with at least one student or Kent State staff member,” she said. “It’s hard to do with a group of 150 students.”

SALSA president Rodrigo Uribe said he hoped students familiarized themselves with Kent State and get encouraged to attend college.

“I wanted to connect with incoming freshmen and get them involved with SALSA and other organizations,” Uribe said. “Hopefully it will also help our membership.”

This year has been hard for SALSA as well as other organizations when it comes to membership, he said.

“All the groups seem to be suffering in numbers and I want to change that,” Uribe added.

Pringle said her goal for ASPIRA is to introduce students to what it means to be a college student.

“I think I’ve done that because other than Kent State, only two students said they have visited another college,” she said. “They need to understand the more exposure they get, the more comfortable they will be in a college setting.”

Deanetsi Gonzalez, an Admiral King junior, was pleased with the program.

“They explained what we needed to know as we get ready to graduate from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I think this is a program that definitely needs to be continued.”

Uribe said he was glad to see the students interested in college, even if they decided not to attend Kent State.

“College is important, and I hope the students realized its importance,” he said.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Alexia Harris at [email protected].