Clemente Students Present at NAME Conference
How can respecting one's cultural origins while finding a voice within the larger community reframe a student's identity and confidence? Can a study of art, humanities, and culture redefine a student's own expectation of academic success and civic involvement?
Students from the Clemente Course at East High School recently presented at the National Association of Multicultural Education at Salt Lake Community College and spoke passionately about these very topics.
The theme for this year's conference was Narratives of Bravery and Hope: An Urgency for Positive Cultural Identity in Education.
The conference examined the correlation between students' cultural identity and their academic engagement and success. It also explored ways to validate and honor cultural identity and to foster positive identity development for students in Utah's schools and classrooms.
The Clemente students specifically talked about their experience with creating Clemente's We Are One Project which was part of "Inside Out," a global art project that transforms messages of personal identity into works of art. They shared their experiences and insights, and spoke articulately about how participating in both the project and the Clemente Course has influenced their lives and their academic engagement.
One of the students, Yerry Perez, spoke in particular about the lack of political involvement among Latinos, including his fellow Latino students at East High School. He wants to change that trend and seeks to encourage more participation among Latinos in his school and community. As part of his own hope to address the issue, he plans to run for a student government office. He credits the Clemente Course for expanding his awareness about why it's important to be engaged and for increasing his confidence to get involved.
Photos: Clemente students presenting at the NAME conference: Mireya Ahumada, Ana Fernandez, Monica Sanchez, Violeta Hernandez, Yerry Perez. Photo courtesy of Jorge Rojas.
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