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Juntos Academy Empowers Students to Push Forward, Together

*This article was originally published by Patrick Smith with the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. See the original article here.*

Make memories. Keep an open mind. Put down your phone and be present. Create a spark. Si, se puede (it can be done). These were the words of advice and encouragement from Juntos North Carolina staff to about 80 middle and high school students from all across the state — and Idaho — for the 2022 Juntos Summer Academy.

Held June 14-18 at NC State, the Juntos Summer Academy allowed Hispanic and Latino youth to tour and live on a college campus, learn about scholarships and the college application process and participate in career and life skills workshops. They also connected with professionals and college students through networking events and participated in a county-focused climate resiliency project in partnership with UNC Center for Public Engagement with Science UNC Institute for the Environment. There was time for fun activities like paddling on Lake Raleigh, movie nights and trips to local museums as well. Each day was driven by a theme, all under the concept of Juntos Le Echamos Ganas (We Push Forward).

This year’s academy was especially significant since it was held in person for the first time since 2019. It also coincided with Juntos NC’s 15th anniversary.

“For our students, the Juntos Summer Academy is a time to connect with peers, college students and professionals who reflect their own journey as first- or second-generation immigrants,” said Bianca Wall, assistant director of Juntos NC. “It is an opportunity to see themselves on a college campus and have the experience of higher education. For most of them, it is the first time they set foot on a college campus and see it as a possibility for themselves. In-person programming brings it into focus and reality more than any virtual call could. Walking through the brickyard, sleeping in the dorms and eating in the dining halls all while being surrounded by people who support and believe in them shows these students that they are not alone and higher education is an option for them.”

“Juntos Academy brings students from all over North Carolina who are empowered through a week-long experience built for them and with them in mind,” added Diana Urieta, director of Juntos NC. “This year’s in-person academy showed the vital reality that young people thrive when they are in spaces where they have a sense of belonging. Juntos students can relate to the professionals and college students who poured into their lives during the week and be able to see their bicultural and bilingual roots as an asset that is welcomed at NC State.”

For the full article, visit the Academic and Student Affairs news site.

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