The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics announced that The University of Texas at El Paso’s “UTEP Celebrates” program was one of its “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.”
UTEP Celebrates was an innovative, outreach effort conducted over two days in fall 2014 that promoted college education to more than 180,000 Pre-K-12 students at 269 public and private schools in 12 school districts within Region 19, which covers almost 5,100 square miles. Approximately 80 percent of the students were Hispanic.
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the White House recognized UTEP Celebrates as among the 230-plus top examples of investment in the educational attainment of Hispanics. The honor was in the Early Learning: K-12 and College Access category.
The 30-minute grade-appropriate presentations involved games, giveaways, and a video to promote big dreams and the how college was the key to professional achievement.
“What an honor to be recognized by the White House for an event that meant so much to UTEP and El Paso,” said Gary Edens, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs. UTEP Celebrates was truly a community effort. Our goal was to share the college-going message to all the young people in our region. It’s great that the message was also heard all the way in Washington, D.C.”
The activity was tied to the University’s Centennial Celebration. More than 1,200 University staff, students and faculty visited the campuses and shared a high-energy presentation that included information about UTEP history, its growth into a national research university and its mantra of access and excellence.
This effort has led to numerous requests for follow-up visits, field trips to UTEP, and letters from school administrators and parents who commented about the impact of the event. It has spawned new collaborations between the University and area schools and developed new strategies where UTEP services could help more students achieve their academic goals regardless of their academic status.