By Amy Bounds Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 11/26/2010 11:34:07 AM MST
Rich Lopez, a Boulder lawyer, is among several Latino community leaders who have been interviewed by students in Boulder County s I Have a Dream program.
Rich Lopez told a story about growing up in California, picking grapes every summer with his father.
At 12, his father told him he could quit school, but only if he was willing to come work in the fields full-time. That choice made him realize the value of education, he told middle- and high-school students in Boulder County's "I Have a Dream" program.
"I wanted to go to college because I didn't want to work in the fields anymore," he said.
Lopez, a Boulder lawyer, is one of about 10 Latino community leaders participating in a new program designed to encourage and inspire Latino students to graduate from high school and go to college. The program is a partnership among "I Have a Dream," The University of Colorado at Boulder's International and National Voluntary Service Training Program, and College in Colorado.
Garret Brownlee, director of college and career programs for "I Have a Dream," said the program has been helpful for the students, while also getting community leaders involved in "I Have a Dream."
"It's a way to motivate students to see they're not the only ones who had the same struggle," she said.
About 20 students from Boulder's Casey Middle School and Lafayette's Centaurus High School have interviewed community leaders, including a doctor, a television news anchor and a bank executive. The students now are working on creating public displays from the information they gathered.
Viri Jaquez, a 17-year-old senior at Centaurus, said the stories of the people they interviewed were "amazing."
"It was really good to see what people go through," said Viri, who wants to study business management. "You have to work hard to get what you want, but it's never impossible."
Yoli Hernandez, a senior at Centuarus, interviewed 7News anchor Anne Trujillo. Yoli said she was surprised that Trujillo said her parents were her main motivation to go to college, encouraging her because they didn't have that opportunity.
"It was really interesting," said the 17-year-old.
She said she knows she wants to go to college, though she's not sure yet what she wants to study.
"I can get more money than just with a high-school diploma," she said. "I'll be able to get a job I enjoy doing."
Read more: Boulder County students get encouragement from Latino leadersDailyCamera.com