HALO attends Midwest Encuentro


“You go high, as far as you want to go; there is always a road that will take you there,” said keynote speaker Dr. Juan Andrade, as he addressed the Fifth Annual Midwest HALO Encuentro at Kansas State University. SCCC/ATS Hispanic-American Leadership Organization was able to attend this convention. Andrade is the most honored Latino leader in the nation and current president of the Hispanic Leader Institute, according to the convention brochure. Both the White House and Mexican government have honored him for his work. In 2001, President Bill Clinton cited him for “extraordinary accomplishments in promoting civic participation and leadership development,” and in 2011 he received the Ohtli Award by the Mexican government. With five honorary doctorates, he continues to emphasize the need for education in the Latino (Hispanic) community. Growing up with a newspaper route and washing dishes, to farm work, and meat packing and factory work in his high school years, Andrade had a childhood with obstacles, but with determination he overcame and was able to become a Hispanic Leader. “El futuro es suyos (the future is yours),” Andrade said. The future is in the hands of the new generation, education laying the path towards a better future. “Dr. Andrade saying never settle for what anyone says, always demand a second opinion,” Conny Hernandez said was something she felt relatable. This was Hernandez’s second year at the HALO Midwest Encuentro and she said that it was very enjoyable. “I enjoyed the inspir­­­­­­ational speech by Dr. Andrade. He was very outgoing, relatable, and inspirational.” Other speakers at the convention consisted of Dr. Tim DeNoble, dean of the college of architecture, planning, and design, as well as Frank Martin, K-State men’s head basketball coach. DeNoble spoke about the growing Hispanic cultural influences on architecture. DeNoble has taught in Mexico City and Rome, and worked in projects in Ecuador. Mirta Chavez, former SCCC employee and director of multicultural programs and services, took the podium, as Martin was running late. Employed in the past at SCCC/ATS, she has had previous experience with campus students, and the obstacles that students face, not only in Seward, but around the country as well. “It doesn’t matter where you come from,” Chavez said. Growing up in a trailer home and coming from a Hispanic background, she urged the audience to succeed and receive higher education. During lunch, there was musical entertainment by Mariachi Luna y Sol. Convention attendees were able to request songs. A Baile Folklorico was one of the highlights that ended the convention. The convention also had workshops aimed at helping students continue their educations. From Transferring from Community College and Scholarships: Paying for college, attendees were able to select a workshop that would aid them in their future plans. Closing remarks were by Dr. Myra Gordon, associate provost for diversity. A woman with a strong passion to help multicultural students succeed, Gordon is working toward making a difference in the number of multicultural students who seek higher education. “I want to see you succeed,” Gordon said. Obdulia Covarrubias, Seward HALO vice president, said that she liked the keynote speaker and the Mariachi band. She also mentioned that a phrase that she found memorable which was inscribed in the HALO Midwest Encuentro flier. “Many backgrounds, many stories… One American Spirit.”