Clovis students participate in Latino Success Conference

Gabe Salazar gives a motivating speech to students during the CUSD Latino Success Conference at Kastner Intermediate on Friday, March 22. PHOTO COURTESY OF RON WEBB/CUSD

Hundreds of Clovis Unified students participated in the CUSD Latino Success Conference, which took place at two different sites.

The conference first took place on Friday, March 22 at Kastner Intermediate, marking the first time an intermediate school in Clovis Unified hosted the event.

Students at Kastner had a chance to listen to keynote speaker Gabe Salazar.

As a motivational speaker, Salazar travels the country and talks about how he overcame homelessness and gang influences to become the first in his family to go to college.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the first annual Latino Success Conference,” Salazar said. “It’s so great to inspire kids to realize that their dreams can come true when you surround yourself with mentors and you make positive choices.”

Salazar said there are many different perspectives of success, but helping the kids find out what it means for them is important.

“For them to hear a Latino voice like mine today and for them to hear all the others really means a lot,” Salazar said. “For individuals to look up to somebody who looks like them, comes from a background like them, who has overcome and succeeded, means a lot.”

On March 29, Clovis North Educational Center hosted the CUSD Latino Student Success High School Conference, marking the sixth time CUSD high schools have hosted the event.

The event at Clovis North featured keynote speaker Juan Felipe Herrera, who is the 21st U.S. poet laureate and the first Latino to hold the position. Herrera, an activist and writer, was also a Fresno State professor.

“These conferences provide an inspirational platform for students to get to know one another, meet professionals in the community and listen to testimonies by a variety of people of Latino and Hispanic heritages,” Saul Salinas, Clovis Unified Coordinator of Community Relations, said.

Richard Delgado, Clovis West teacher and chairperson for the high school conference, said the district is very proud to see students from various ethnicities and cultures attending the motivational conferences over the years.

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