Park City High School pushes Latino college attendance | ParkRecord.com

Park City High School pushes Latino college attendance

By Cole Fullmer, The Park Record Staff

The Latino population in the Park City High School is growing. Despite those numbers, the minority which consists of 13-percent of the student-body is not seeing the expected rise in college attendance, according to Niko Jensen, PCHS counselor.

In spite of Park City High School’s success in sending graduating students to post-secondary education – 92-percent last year – Latino students have not had the same triumph as the rest of their peers.

Jensen argues this is not a reflection of the students’ potential, but rather a lack of preparation.

“Sharing the relevancy for college preparation helps initiate motivation in the students,” Jensen said. “When we discovered our Latino students were not going to college, we started working with the students and the families.”

In order to reach out, PCHS created Latino Parent Night. The outreach program was designed to create a bridge between the Latino students and their families, and the programs and services that make going to college possible.

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During the school year – the school holds four workshops. Each workshop highlights a different college preparation category. The first workshop, held at the beginning of the school year, focused on why college is important. During the second meeting, PCHS counselors and staff discussed the process of admissions.

The third installment was held on March 20. Scholarships and financial aid opportunities and strategies were introduced – along with an introduction to college mentoring programs.

“We first detected the problem four years ago when only two of our Latino students enrolled for college,” Jensen said. “We have made a lot of progress, but a lot more needs to be done to make sure this important part of our student body is prepared for the future.”

When LPN was first introduced during 2009-2010 school year – only three to four families were showing up for workshops. According to Jensen, attendance has risen to over 100 people.

“We have had a lot of help through the community,” Jensen said. “Tommy Tanzer has been sponsoring the program and getting other community members involved. With their help we have been able to make a real impact on the issue.”

The final LPN workshop will take place on May 1 at the Salt Lake Community College campus. Every year the outreach program plans to make a visit to a different Utah college campus – giving students a first-hand impression of a college environment.