Loading images.
LISTO campers eating with a business professional
A LISTO camper reading
LISTO campers doing a team building exercise
LISTO campers participating in team building
Group shot of all of the LISTO campers

Si se puede!

The second Alumnos Listos (Smart Students) summer camp, held August 4-6 and sponsored by the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with support from the Hispanic Outreach Office, was judged a roaring success by all who participated. The 22 high school students from Garland and Greenville, all recent immigrants, were the stars of the show as they interacted with their teachers, Latino role models, and TAMU-Commerce administrators, faculty, staff members  and undergraduates. The campers learned a lot about the college experience such as how to apply, where to look for financial assistance, and how to network and have fun with others. By the end of their three day on-campus, all said they now believe İSi se puede! (Yes, we can!), that they, too, can go to college. Several expressed a specific interest in attending Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The camp was designed to help the students "... explore college, careers and cultura" while learning and having fun. The students told us they greatly appreciated the eight teachers who engaged them in exciting, informative learning activities on topics like how to writing a winning essay to apply for college and how to find money for college online as well as the Hispanic students who welcomed them to the  university and helped them decorate papier-maché masks to artistically represent who they are. They said they loved their accommodations at the New Pride dorms , the games, salsa dancing and pool party provided at the Student and Recreation Centers, and the ropes course that challenged them to develop team building and leadership skills in the 100+ degree heat. They enjoyed completing a career interest inventory in one of our labs to identify their own areas of strength and then meeting with Latino professionals who shared their stories of challenge and success. They asked each role model insightful questions about their journeys to the fulfilling careers they now possess and later met with faculty representatives from the Agriculture, Business, Science, Health and Human Performance, Teacher Education (C&I), Educational Leadership, and Spanish departments to talk about the majors offered and how their Spanish-English bilingualism would help them in their future careers.

The camp concluded with a luncheon for parents attended by President Dan Jones, COEHS Dean Brent Mangus, Hispanic Outreach Director Luís Franco, and C & I Head Martha Foote. Keynote speaker Roy Juárez Jr, moved the audience to tears as he described how he went from a homeless teenager caring for his 9 year old brother and 2 year old sister to a college graduate and motivational speaker. But the highlight of the whole camp and the luncheon was when teams of students presented what they had learned in the form of songs, skits, slideshows and display panels. The audience of parents, university administrators, camp teachers and staff were all awed by the creativity and courage the students displayed as they took turns sharing what the camp had meant to them.

Bilingual/ESL Director Chris Green, who conceptualized and directed the camp both this year and last, said, "This group of campers and their teachers were incredible. We owe special thanks to the US Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) which has funded the İListo! grant for five years now and to the teachers who helped me plan the camp, designing and implementing instructional activities of the highest calibur. We feel we have made a genuine significant difference in these 22 students' lives. We hope to provide some follow-up activities at Lakeview Centennial and Greenville high schools during the upcoming school year and to have a third camp next year."

A link to the new camp video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdGi6TAKjL8.