Boys and young men in the Socorro Independent School District got to bond with their fathers and learn about careers and educational opportunities at the SISD 10th Annual Father-Son Conference – Building Ties at Pebble Hills High School.
The longtime, successful conference encourages strong connections between boys and their dads, which helps improve family engagement and student performance.
Some of the classes offered at the conference this year were 10 First Aid Things Every Father and Son Should Know provided by the Socorro High School Health Professions Academy, Teen Dating Violence Prevention by the County’s Attorney Office, Animation Studio Class by Snapology of El Paso, Human Trafficking 101 and the Danger of Social Media by Paso Del Norte Center of Hope, and Automotive Technology by the Automotive Technology at Socorro High School.
“I really wanted to see some of the programs, like animation, since I’m in a program for audio and video,” said Daniel Vela, a Socorro High School senior. “We’ve come other times to this event and since I am going to graduate already, we decided to come for the last time and I’m excited.”
The participants learned about the district’s early college programs, advanced academics academies, and college and career opportunities. Workshops on cyberbullying, self-esteem, and self-confidence were available, as well.
Games, team building, and physical activities also were part of the day’s events, including a rock wall, a zorb balls collision course, Jacob’s ladder, a 60-foot obstacle course, a football challenge, a basketball throw, and a soccer kick challenge.
Fernie Vasquez, SISD assistant director of state and federal programs and coordinator of the father-son conference, said many times parents think they know what their child likes and doesn’t like. But when they attend the conference, they realize there is so much that they didn’t know. The conference provides the avenue for fathers and sons to learn more about each other, as well as the opportunities available in Team SISD and the greater community.
“Fathers and their sons will have to communicate with each other in order to accomplish the activities that we have for them and hopefully those activities will help them unite,” Vasquez said. “The idea is to get them to bond and learn more about each other.”
This year’s keynote speaker at the opening session was former ABC-7 news anchor, Rick Cabrera, who shared his story about his relationship with his own father, as well as his own experiences of being a father to his two children, Madyn and Andrew.
“The title I’m most proud to have is father,” Cabrera said.
Andrew also spoke at the conference describing his dad as his best friend. He shared his admiration for his father’s career, his father’s constant support of him, and his admiration for his comics collection.
The inspirational opening session set the tone for the fathers and sons, who recognized the need to nurture their love and support for each other.
“It’s important to build these relationships,” said Robert Maldonado, who attended the event with his son Isaiah, a sixth-grade student from Col. John O. Ensor Middle School. “Without proper guidance, children can find mentors in the wrong people, which can lead to bad situations.”
Roberto Galvan, a parent of an Americas High School senior said the conference is a great idea because it brings fathers and sons together and it exposes students to different activities and different career paths that might interest them as they get older.
“Today is very special because now a days it’s harder to spend time with your kids because everyone is busy with work, school,” Galvan said. “This gives us the opportunity to spend time with our sons.”