Original URL: http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/metro/12900.php

Carmona stresses education for Hispanic youth at fair

By Erin Schmidt
Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona returned to the Old Pueblo Saturday for an educational fair stressing the importance of educating Hispanic youth.
Carmona, who calls Tucson his hometown and was a Tucson trauma surgeon, health administrator and sheriff's SWAT team member, was part of a two-day event that wrapped up Saturday. It was geared toward stressing advancement in Hispanic students through family support and community connections.
"One-third of all Hispanics drop out of high school," Carmona said. "We need to stress that education will set you free. It will let you do whatever you want to do."
Carmona addressed about 35 parents, students and residents. He was also joined by Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., who also addressed the importance of an education for Hispanic students.
The event, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Feria Educativa, was held at the University of Arizona. Tucson is one of seven cities nationwide to play host to the event sponsored by Partners in Hispanic Education, an initiative launched last year by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The educational fair was brought to Tucson because of its large Hispanic population, said Francisco Lopez, executive director for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
"Tucson has been identified as a small market with a large number of Latinos," Lopez said. "We want to close the achievement gaps between minorities and non-minorities."
Lopez said the foundation had worked closely with local school districts to get the word out on the educational fair.
Daniela Lopez, a senior at Desert View High School said she came to learn more about her opportunities as a minority youth.
"They are going to motivate us to stay in school," she said. "No matter if we are planning to go to Pima Community College or to the University of Arizona, it is important to hear. That is why I am here today."
Kolbe, who represents large portions of Tucson and rural Southern Arizona, said it is important to start teaching children at a young age about the importance of a higher education.
"Parents need to be involved in homework and on a local level," Kolbe said. "Students must know the importance of a secondary education the first day they go to school, not the last day."
Feria Educativa offered motivational performances for students stressing the importance of an education. Along with student motivation, parents were involved in the event with presentations designed to inform them of higher education and financial aid.
Contact reporter Erin Schmidt at 629-9412 or at eschmidt@azstarnet.com.

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