The LatinEd Connection – Summer Edition

Summer 2020 Edition

Dear students, families, and friends,

We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy, while remaining vigilant during these challenging times. LNESC staff continue to work on providing educational resources to our students, while exploring creative and innovative approaches to virtual learning and online education opportunities.

As we are responding to the pandemic with creative and innovative approaches to virtual education, we must also consider addressing the social issues that are important to our communities. LNESC is committed to offering opportunities to prepare young future leaders through education and leadership development initiatives, such as the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program and the Washington Youth Leadership Seminar. These programs allow students a safe and productive space to explore their abilities and potential to empower their communities. Although we are moving these programs to virtual platforms, the need to engage our youth in discussions on matters of race, identity and social activism is more important than ever.

In this edition of The LatinEd Connection, we are including previous segments such as “Que Pasa” that shows scholarship and event updates, “Lideres in Action” that spotlight’s LNESC Corpus Christi Director Feliberto Valdez Jr., along with “College Cues” and the “Parent Forum” that provides tips and information in areas of education. An exciting addition is the “En la Comunidad : LNESC in the Field”, where we will showcase activities and impacts of our local service centers on the ground, as they are the heart of the important work of LNESC.

Be sure to stay indoors, wash your hands and take every precaution if you need to leave home. Remember, we are all one local/national/global community linked by our humanity as we look to take care of our families, friends and neighbors. We’re all in this together!

Have a great summer!

Warm regards,

Richard Roybal
Executive Director

Que Pasa: Updates and Happenings at LNESC

Virtual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar

The Washington Youth Leadership Seminar offers a truly unique opportunity for students to voice their opinions directly to national leaders and policymakers. It challenges participating youth to focus on their own leadership development and encourages participants to apply these lessons back in their communities. Participants are recommended by LULAC Councils / LNESC Centers to serve as representatives of their home states. During the event, students work with LNESC staff and LULAC leaders from across the country to develop a platform of initiatives, which are of particular interest to youth. After meeting with key policymakers in the field and discussing with representatives, participants collaborate on a position piece, which is then sent to their congressional representatives. In past years, students have focused on issues as varied as the environment, education, immigration, healthcare reform and the economy.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the LNESC National Office will host its annual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar virtually on September 24 – 26, 2020.

Student applications will be available here by July 20.

NBCUniversal/LNESC Scholarship

The NBCUniversal/LNESC Scholarship Program awards ten (10) $5,000 national scholarships to qualified rising sophomores and juniors. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university; at least 18 years of age or older; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale; must be a U. S. Citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, or have legal authorization to work in the U.S. without requiring sponsorship now or in the future ; and have an interest in the media and entertainment industry; all majors are welcome. Deadline to apply is Friday, July 24, 2020.

For more information, please click here.

ExxonMobil Engineering Scholarship

Sponsored by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC) awards one (1) national scholarship of $20,000 (paid over four years), and twelve (12) $2,000 local scholarships to qualified Latino high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in engineering at U. S. post-secondary institutions. Applicants must be a Hispanic student accepted into and planning to attend a full-time program in engineering leading to a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university in the U.S.; an incoming college freshman; have a cumulative high school grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent; have scored 29 or higher on the ACT test, or 1350 or higher on the SAT test (sum of critical reading and mathematics scores); and reside within the following cities or surrounding areas: Oxnard, CA; San Diego, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Miami, FL; Kansas City, MO; Albuquerque NM; Philadelphia, PA; Bayamon, PR; Austin, TX; Corpus Christi, TX; Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; El Paso, TX; San Antonio, TX; or Vancouver, WA. Deadline to apply is August 14, 2020.

For more information, please click here.

En la Comunidad: LNESC in the Field

LNESC Bayamón

Upward Bound Program students at LNESC Bayamón in Puerto Rico spent the months of January and February 2020 participating in Earthquake education workshops. Students learned about the causes of earthquakes, what preventive measures they can take and what can they do to help others after the earthquake. Each workshop covered the importance of how to prepare an emergency backpack and how it can be used to save lives. The students also visited the Eco-Exploratory exhibit, as well as the National Oceanic exhibit which explained how Earthquakes affect the earth and the ocean. The purpose of these workshops was for students to have a better understanding of the continuous seismic activity experienced in Puerto Rico since the month of December 2019.

For more information visit the LNESC Bayamón website.

LNESC Dallas

There is a lot to be proud of for the students that participate in programs at LNESC Dallas in Texas. This year LNESC Dallas graduated 43 high school seniors from its Upward Bound programs in May 2020. One hundred percent of them are planning to attend a two or four-year college or university with an average of $12,000 – $15,000 in renewable scholarships and grants for fall 2020. Renato de los Santos, LNESC Dallas Director, credits the staff for consistently reaching out to graduating seniors and not allowing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to become a barrier for students.

“If it were not for the Upward Bound program, I would have not thought about going to college. On Fridays, we would go on college trips and this helped us explore more options. The program helped me apply to many scholarships and helped me negotiate with the school. Because of (LNESC), I was able to reach out to the school and get the full Texas Grant. The program helped me graduate with honors, helped me with tutoring, and helped me get more involved in school. I’m a role model now. Thank you to the Upward Bound Program. Without (the program), I would be really lost.”
-Rosa Barrera, UB participant

This effort was enhanced through partnership programs, such as a March 3rd Campus Visitation Program powered by a grant from NISSAN USA, in which 185 Dallas ISD students visited the SMU campus. Technical resources included the availability of eighteen (18) laptops in the Empower Hispanic America through Technology computer lab made possible by a grant from TOYOTA North America. Over $500,000 in scholarships were awarded to 250 North Texas students through the Ford Driving Dreams Scholarship Program sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, and forty 8th graders explored STEM careers sponsored by a grant from General Motors.

“As has been said by so many, you can’t get anywhere without planning to get there. Students and their parents have each been writing letters to themselves sharpening their personal goals and setting annual objectives as part of the “Time Capsule” Project. All of these efforts culminate in helping us to help our participants to make their dreams come true of becoming life-long learners, and life-long leaders.”
-Ray de los Santos, LNESC Dallas Director

LNESC Dallas serves Sunset, Molina and Pinkston High School, while also providing numerous programs for Dallas middle schools. The program continues to encourage students to reach their potential and provide them with opportunities that allow them to succeed through financial assistance, educational opportunities, and guidance. It is the students that make the program successful.

For more information, visit the LNESC Dallas website.

LNESC Oxnard

This June, LNESC Oxnard in California celebrated their outstanding high school students in Upward Bound, CIDream, and Project Islas Program. Having had a virtual celebration and a graduation gift activity, both events were a reminder that students show strength, resilience, and camaraderie as they go through these difficult times together. Students shared their excitement in starting one of the biggest chapters of their lives as some of the students prepare to attend UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Southern California in the Fall.

One of these events even featured a lovely serenade from one of the student’s fathers, who brought a smile to all who joined!

For more information visit the LNESC Oxnard website.

Lideres in Action: Rising Stars of LNESC

Introducing Feliberto Valdez, Jr., Director of LNESC Corpus Christi in Texas. As a student, Feliberto participated in LNESC programs that included Talent Search (1985-86 & 1986-87), the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program (1985-1986), and in partnership with LULAC Council #1, Feliberto was a LULAC National Scholarship Fund recipient (1987) in support of his education.

“The LNESC Talent Search Program and the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program provided me the guidance and support I needed to graduate from high school and enroll in postsecondary education. The LULAC Council #1 LULAC National Scholarship Fund award provided me the financial assistance I needed to pay expenses that my financial aid award did not cover. LNESC programs provide disadvantaged students like myself, the motivation and skills they need to empower them to follow their educational dreams.”
– Feliberto Valdez, Jr, LNESC Corpus Christi Director

Feliberto was the first in his family to graduate from high school, as well as the first to graduate from college. In 1992, he received his Bachelor of Arts in English, with minors in Philosophy and Theology from Saint Meinrad College Seminary in Saint Meinrad, Indiana. He received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Human Resource Management concentration in 2012 from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona. Currently, Feliberto is a Doctoral Candidate (Dissertation) Doctor of Management with an Organizational Leadership concentration. He has been an LNESC team member for 25 years working at LNESC Corpus Christi.

“My decision to work for LNESC stems from my desire to pay-it-forward; to positively impact the lives of disadvantaged students in the Corpus Christi, Texas area and throughout the Nation.”
– Feliberto Valdez, Jr, LNESC Corpus Christi Director


College Cues: Tips for Student Readiness

Tips for Students Navigating Through a COVID-19 Uncertain Future

Due to the pandemic, many students are currently worried or confused of what their education will look like this upcoming school year. Their plans of starting their freshman year or returning to their campus this fall may have shifted into a hybrid setting of both online and in-person courses or it may continue to be solely online. With any route your school might be going, it is essential for all students to continue focusing on their mental and physical well-being while getting their work done. The following tips are some of the many things that can be done in the time-being to take care of yourself!

Focus on What You Can Control
While we can’t control the virus, we can control the role we play in preventing its spread, including maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask in public, and washing our hands. We can also control aspects of our day-to-day lives, such as exercising, breathing, and using our time to pursue important goals. Do more of what you CAN control and work toward accepting what you cannot.

Avoid Media Madness
Information overload uses valuable cognitive space. Put a couple of short periods of news-checking into your daily schedule; don’t overwhelm yourself with repeatedly looking for updates. And a word about Facebook, Instagram, and other social media: Sadly, a lot of misinformation is spread here, so let’s stick with support from friends, jokes, and cat videos.

For more tips and resources for help on student life during the pandemic, please be sure to check out University of San Francisco COVID-19 Coping Tips and Resources for Students and for tips on adjusting your studying habits, please visit University of Michigan advice on Adjusting your study habits during COVID.

Parent Forum: Strategies for Student Success

As a parent, COVID-19 took life into an unexpected turn with many thoughts on what they are going to do with their job and children as transitions began to happen. Parents rely on schools and daycare during the day so that they are able to be in attendance at work while their child is getting their education and/or care. Whether the parent is an essential worker or working from home, there are many resources and tips that can be of help to continue distant learning or keeping the children busy during working hours. Some include:

Plan a routine together
Try to establish a routine that factors in age-appropriate education programs that can be followed online, on the television or through the radio. Also, factor in play time and time for reading. Use everyday activities as learning opportunities for your children. And don’t forget to come up with these plans together where possible.

Stay in touch with your children’s education facility
Find out how to stay in touch with your children’s teacher or school to stay informed, ask questions and get more guidance. Parent groups or community groups can also be a good way to support each other with your home schooling.

For more parents tips and resources, please visit UNICEF’s 5 ways to help keep children learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and NYU Langone Health News Hub Parents’ Guide for Meeting the Challenge During the COVID-19 Pandemic.


The LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit agency whose mission is to provide the highest quality educational opportunities needed for the development of life-long learners and leaders.

As LULAC’s education arm, since 1973 LNESC has provided direct educational services to under-served communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, serving more than 14,000 students each year. Our educational programs break down the barriers that exist between high-need students and high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs in highly skilled fields.

Through its network of community-based education centers, LNESC provides educational counseling, scholarships, mentorship, leadership development, literacy, and technology programs.

For more information go to