Hispanic CMS Students Looking To Break Generational Trends
CHARLOTTE, NC- Hundreds of Hispanic high school students spent their Saturday finding out how to get to college... despite some discouraging numbers.
This past year, less than 60 percent of Hispanic CMS students graduated from high school. We talked to students and advisers to find out why that number is so low.
Students at the Hispanic College Fair at Garinger High School Saturday are breaking generational trends. Many students at the fair will be the first in their family to graduate, but they say their parents are supportive and motivating them to do better.
Roberto Rodriguez is a senior at Garinger. His mom dropped out of high school in 10th grade and his dad didn't make it past middle school.
"I just want to do better for myself and for both me and my family. It's huge because I want to be able to make a statement. I'm far from a statistic," said Rodriguez.
The 57 percent graduation rate for Hispanic CMS students is 10 percent less than black students and almost 30 percent less than white students.
Like Rodriguez, Marlen Garcia of Mallard Creek High School will be a first-generation graduate. Garcia thinks the low graduation numbers are due to Latino students not knowing they can go to college.
"They're afraid that they cannot go, that they cannot attend. Like, they don't get too much information, so they just drop out because they think it's not worth it," said Garcia.
Brandon Carter is Garinger's college adviser. With his minority students, he understands language barriers... low-income households... and questionable legal status. "They're just up against a lot of things.
There are a lot of extenuating factors outside of just the classroom and school in general. So, when you talk about college, it's like a distant idea that you know... that's not for me," said Carter.
The Hispanic Cultural Center of Charlotte (HCCC) hopes the college fair and other post-secondary events spark a desire in Latino students to finish high school.
"We want to say... you can change this. And it's just been amazing at how many students we've talked to who really do want to change it," said Gilda Rubio Fest, co- founder of the HCCC.
The low Latino graduation rate extends to the college-level. Only about 12 percent of the 51 million Hispanics in the U.S. are college graduates.