CHCI Chair Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez Challenges Latino Youth to Succeed at R2L in San Antonio

On Saturday, March 31, over 100 Latino high school students invested in their futures by participating in CHCI’s college readiness program, Ready to Lead.  Students gathered at The University of Texas at San Antonio-Downtown Campus for a day of information and inspiration.

CHCI President & CEO Esther AguileraCHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera opened the event by thanking all the young participants for their attendance and recognized their many achievements.  As a personal example of success for the young Latinos, she stressed the importance of finishing high school and obtaining higher education.  She also promoted the great programs that CHCI offers and encouraged them to apply as they continue their educational journeys.

The day’s workshops included a College Planning workshop presented by The University of Texas at San Antonio.  Students were taught effective study habits, instructed on how to fill out college admissions applications, and given information about how to seek scholarship opportunities.  

Ready to Lead partner the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas presented the Financial Literacy workshop.  Students were introduced to such topics as:  fiscal responsibility, how to open a bank account and balance a check book, how to fill out a financial aid application and alternative sources of funding a college education.  Local CHCI alumni presented the Leadership Development workshop, citing the importance of mentorship and how it can help shape a youth’s future.

Rep. Gonzalez Address San Antonio Students at R2LOne of the highlights of the day was guest speaker Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, who offered opening remarks before the mentoring power hour.  Rep. Gonzalez gave the students practical advice about the transition from high school to college and then into the workforce.  He mentioned the young panelists from the previous day’s Latino Education Forum and urged the high school students in the room to use them as role models and follow in their footsteps for a bright future.  In closing, Rep. Gonzalez challenged the youth to stay in school, remain focused, seek out mentors, and to give back to the community from which they came. 

The popular Mentoring Power Hour featured nearly 40 Latino leaders from the San Antonio community, including sponsors and CHCI alumni.  It provided students with the opportunity to engage these professionals and ask specific questions to help guide their own personal educational attainment paths.

The Ready to Lead San Antonio event had a powerful ending as guest motivational speaker Salvador Hernandez, another accomplished CHCI alumnus, explained to the kids the real life consequences of good and bad decision making.  He spoke of inspirational figures that can influence the outcome of a person’s life and encouraged the students to find role models to look up to.  Hernandez closed his remarks by giving the students some great advice.  “The lessons that you are taught as a youngster are the lessons that will help push you through life and any adversity you may face,” he said.  "Having heart will get you through tough times.”

View the Photo Gallery from the event.