by Jenn Sanchez

Community Impact Director

PARK CITY – About 80 fourth and fifth graders recently got the chance to attend “Career Day” at Ecker Hill Middle School.  It was the first time the district organized such an event for Latino elementary students, said Nora Buchanan, the Park City School District Latino outreach counselor. She said she coordinated “Career Day” to get students excited about what they want to be when they grow up, so they know what to study when they go to college.

“We want children to start thinking about their future goals,” she said.

The students attend Trailside, Jeremy Ranch and Parley’s Park elementary schools, which are also Community Learning Centers. The centers, also known as community schools, are apart of United Way of Salt Lake’s strategic plan to serve families and provide them with the resources they need to be successful in the areas of education, income, health as well as how to integrate into society. UWSL and its partnering agencies work in six neighborhoods, including Park City, Salt Lake City and Kearns, with more than 20 centers.

Buchanan also said she wanted to expose kids to role models in their community who look like them, who are Latino, and who can identify with them.  Some of the guest speakers included: Jose Enriquez, an assistant principal and founder of Latinos in Action (a program for Latino students in high school and junior high), Miguel Contreras, an officer with the Park City Police Department, Irlanda Lamoureux, a community learning center coordinator in Park City, a banker, a victim’s advocate, and myself.

I spoke about the importance of volunteering in your community to make it a better place. I also stressed the importance of graduating from college and following your passion, especially when people try to bring you down or say you can’t do something.  After our small group discussions, the students were encouraged to write us questions. Here are some of questions I was most impressed with:

  • Are you the only one in your family that left Texas (my home)?
  • Was it hard for you to go to college?
  • What was your favorite part of being a college student?
  • Is your work fun?

My favorite: Are you happy with your life?

Yes, of course! I get to do what I love!

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