INL News Release
April 21, 2006

Debra Kahl – (208) 526-4714, (through April 25)
(208) 520-6402 (cell, April 26 - 30 in Sun Valley)
(208) 622-2886 (Symposium office in Sun Valley)


Symposium offers Latino teens $400,000 in college scholarships

For the 18th year, the Hispanic Youth Symposium will bring together Latino teens from across Idaho to vie for college scholarships worth an estimated $400,000. About 300 high school students will travel to Sun Valley April 28-30 to participate in the annual outreach effort.

The symposium offers students the opportunity to hear motivational speakers, participate in workshops and compete in speech, talent and interactive skills contests. The weekend event emphasizes education for the state's largest minority group. Colleges and universities from Idaho and surrounding states participate to award scholarships and encourage the Latino teens to seek brighter futures by staying in school.


Symposium offers Latino teens $400,000 in college scholarships

For 18 years, the Hispanic Youth Symposium has brought Idaho high school students together to emphasize the importance of education. For three days -- April 28-30 -- some 300 Idaho Latino teens from 89 schools will gather at the symposium in Sun Valley to attend scientific and educational workshops, hear motivational speakers and vie for college scholarships.

The focus of the Hispanic Youth Symposium is to encourage Latino teens to break the cycle of poverty and seek brighter futures for themselves and their families by staying in school. Using a bilingual format, the Symposium has three primary goals: mentoring/drop-out prevention; building pride in Latino culture/history; and encouraging students to pursue higher education.

Sponsors of the symposium are the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Gem State Diversity Initiatives and several state agencies and employers. Ten regional colleges and universities will participate by recruiting students, sponsoring college/career booths and awarding an estimated $400,000 in scholarships.

The theme of the Symposium is 'Si Se Puede!' – 'It Can Be Done!' Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia, are scheduled to welcome the students during the opening luncheon on April 28, reinforcing the theme of attaining an education. Keynote speaker on Saturday evening, April 29, is teacher Erin Gruwell, who has gained national attention for successfully helping potential inner-city dropouts achieve their goals of going to college.

During other parts of the symposium, students will engage in problem-solving skill workshops and examine possible career paths for the future. They will also interact with peers and spend time with participants who serve as role models and mentors.

The Hispanic Youth Symposium grew out of a late 1980s brainstorming session on curbing the 60 percent dropout rate of the state's largest minority group. Since then, some 5,000 students have attended, and scholarships valued at over $3 million have been awarded. The dropout rate for Latino teens in Idaho has decreased, but remains at more than 25 percent.

The symposium is a collaborative effort among public employers, federal management contractors, private industry, state and private educational institutions and Hispanic organizations from throughout Idaho.

Idaho National Laboratory is the Department of Energy's lead nuclear energy research, development and demonstration laboratory. INL conducts sustainable programs in nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration, and national and homeland security. Battelle Energy Alliance manages and operates the laboratory for the DOE.

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