By Danique Robinson
About 45 high-school students visited campus on Wednesday for a day of college workshops, motivational speeches and a tour with the student Ambassadors.
Hispanic College Day is a program that has been held by the Gamma Chapter of Lamda Theta Phi Latin Fraterity, Inc. since the 1980s. Hispanic College Day is designed to introduce students to the college environment as well as the proper steps to getting there.
According to Gamma Chapter president Reinario Reyes, senior accounting major, and Garibaldy Mosquea, senior finance major, many of these students are encouraged to get a job when they graduate high school in order to help their families.
Two groups of high-school students from Perth Amboy’s Abott district attended: seniors from Perth Amboy High School and underclassmen from the Academy for Urban Leadership Charter High School. The students and their chaperones were given a College folder that included the agenda, a college preparation checklist, an inquiry form, a pamphlet about the College’s Center for Academic Success and other college-related materials.
The students were taken to the Library Auditorium, where they were welcomed and subsequently given a motivational speech from alumni of the College. Afterward, they were given a tour of campus by the Ambassadors, followed by workshops in the Business Building that were aimed at teaching the students about leadership, diversity and applying to and planning for college.
“It’s great for the first time to bring our students to college,” said Amy Lombardo, guidance counselor at the Academy for Urban Leadership. “It’s rewarding for the students and for myself.”
During lunch in Eickhoff Hall, the high-schoolers were put in small groups with students from the College to share their experiences.
Mariano Pellegrino is a member of Lamda Theta Phi fraternity and a 2004 graduate of the college. “We want to inspire the young generation of students to learn about college,” he said.
At the close of the event, Jamal Johnson, assistant director of admissions and multicultural recruitment director, gave the students a word of encouragement.
“College is a place where you are able to grow and explore,” he said. “Always challenge yourself to go beyond what you think you can do.”
After leaving the Library Auditorium, the students walked back to the Brower Student Center, several of them taking pictures in groups along the way. Perth Amboy student Victoria Valesquez, 17, said, “We learned a lot about the school. The food was pretty good. The campus in general is pretty.”
The Gamma Chapter made the event possible through help from the Office of Admissions, Office of Academic Support Programs, Union Latina, Black Student Union, EOF Alliance, Men of Distinction and Lambda Sigma Upsilon Lation Fraternity, Inc.
Although the day was aimed at Hispanic students, the program emphasized the unity of the minority population on campus.
“It’s a close-knit family that is supportive of each other,” Johnson said.
Although they learned many things about the College, the students were given words and resources to help them pursue higher education in general.
“Some of you have heard that you might not graduate. Some of you have heard that you’ll never leave Perth Amboy,” Johnson said. “If someone has told you ‘You cannot go to college,’ go.”