GGUSD’s 2024 Latinos Unidos Conference Inspires Future Leaders

Latinos Unidos

The eleventh annual Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) Latino Unidos Conference was held January 13, 2024 on the campus of California State University, Fullerton with approximately 300 students in attendance. The conference is organized by district-level Latinos Unidos student board members to provide leadership training and help students prepare for academic, personal, and lifelong success.

The event kicked off with empowering presentations from GGUSD Superintendent, Dr. Gabriela Mafi; Orange County United Way Executive Director of Student Success Sergio Contreras; and Dr. Edgar Zazueta who serves as Executive Director of the Association of California School Administrators. Board of Education President Teri Rocco and Vice President Lan Nguyen also attended to show their support.   

During the leadership conference, students attended a networking fair and exchanged business cards with area professionals, learned about community resources and Latino organizations, and were introduced to potential part-time job opportunities after high school. Latinos Unidos Clubs also had planning sessions among their school site groups to ensure their club goals and ensure they are meeting the Latinos Unidos pillars of commitment, determination, respect, community and familia.  

“This event inspires students to celebrate their heritage and provides a sense of unity among their classmates,” said Board of Education President Teri Rocco. “Through motivational speeches and workshops, students are equipped with skills to help them overcome obstacles and plan for success in their college and career goals and as future leaders.”

Students received a campus tour and attended workshops on topics like time management, college planning, overcoming obstacles for LatinX Youth, LatinX scholarships, supporting undocumented students and families and more.

The Latinos Unidos program was launched to provide a unique system of supports to GGUSD Latinos Unidos students through tutoring, mentorship, community service, college preparation and cultural events. Approximately 57 percent of GGUSD students are Hispanic/Latino, more than 75 percent are socioeconomically disadvantaged and more than 80 percent have a second language background. 

With help from a club advisor, each of the district’s eight high schools, as well as several intermediate and elementary schools have visible, active Latinos Unidos clubs.  The clubs help embrace and honor student’s rich cultural heritage and provide them with a framework to achieve success.