Youth Conference Inspires, Empowers 1,800+ Latino Students to Graduate, Attend College

The 17th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference was a phenomenal success, attracting more than 1,800 Latino middle and high school students to Georgia State University on Saturday, November 5. Including parents, teachers, mentor-guides who guided small groups of students throughout the day, presenters, volunteers and exhibitors, 2,600 people participated in the conference.

The annual conference, presented by the Latin American Association, inspires and empowers Latino youth to graduate from high school and go to college.


Among the highlights:

  • Keynote speaker Carlos Ojeda shared his life story and said that a college scholarship changed his life: “Knowledge gives you power”
  • Stand-up comedian Shayla Rivera, who early in her career worked as an aerospace engineer for NASA, talked about how she moved from Puerto Rico to Texas knowing little English and ended up graduating from Texas A&M: “If I can do anything then anybody can do anything”
  • Workshops on a variety of topics, including leadership, scholarships and applying to college
  • A College & Career Expo with 50+ exhibitors, including Emory University, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, McDonald’s and the Georgia National Guard
  • Dancing before the Opening Ceremony to the Latin beats of DJ Carlitos
  • Performance by Georgia Latino pop singer Cristina Quiñones, who also sang the national anthem
  • Two students won iPads in a social media contest that asked “What are your aspirations for the future?”

Cross Keys High School senior Kelvin González, who has attended the conference for the past six years, says he looks forward to the conference every year. The day, he says, “motivates me to go to college and to be a better person. It’s my favorite event. It’s a big motivator for me.”

We are grateful to our 2016 Latino Youth Leadership Conference sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Georgia Army National Guard
Presenting Media Sponsor: Telemundo Atlanta
Platinum: AT&T * Delta Air Lines * Georgia Power * Goizueta Business School * McDonald’s * Wells Fargo
Gold: The Brace Family Foundation * Publix * Turner * USHLI
Silver: Comcast * GE * The Lovett School * Macy’s * Peace Corps * Six Flags * UPS
Media Sponsor: MundoHispánico

Click here to view photos from the conference.