International Scholar Dr. Maria Guajardo to Speak at EWC’s Annual Adelante Ninos Conference

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 • 11:25 am

April 29, 2010
Eastern Wyoming College, in conjunction with the Goshen County School District, is sponsoring, for the seventh consecutive year, “Adelante Ninos-Onward…Upward…to Higher Education.” This program, scheduled for Thursday, May 13, 2010, 9:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Torrington, Wyoming, seeks to increase the expectation of elementary-aged children for college enrollment and to familiarize these students with college life.
“The conference introduces a philosophy of ‘expected attendance’ into the early school careers of children under-represented in higher education,” states Anne Gardetto, Conference Director of EWC. Initiatives such as these are deemed essential particularly for those children who may perceive that college is ‘out-of-reach’ for them financially/socially/emotionally.”
The conference-funded by the EWC Board of Trustees with additional assistance received from the Wyoming Department of Health-Children’s Special Health, and Region VIII BUENO Equity Assistance Center-has consistently grown over the last five years and has expanded district-wide with an expected attendance rate of over 275, including participants across the state of Wyoming and Nebraska. The program presents a model of how institutions of higher education can coordinate with local school districts and instill higher educational goals in our younger-aged children. The conference features a dual track of academic stations designed for children and an educational track designed for parents on becoming effective partners in their child’s academic success.
The Conference Keynote Speaker features nationally-recognized Maria Guajardo, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children in Denver, Colorado. She oversees operations from Head Start to providing high school students an even start to post secondary education. She is highly recognized for her research in dropout prevention and is a national spokesperson on topics of education, leadership, and the strength of diversity. Her publications include “The Spirit of Culture” and “The Power of Parents.”
Dr. Guajardo graduated with honors from Harvard University and earned her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Denver. She was recently awarded the “Ghandi, King, Ikeda Award” for her leadership and commitment to excellence in public education from Morehouse College as well as the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award. Dr. Guajardo will present the Conference Keynote Address “Making the Impossible Possible-Sí, Se Puede,” at the First General Session in the EWC Fine Arts Auditorium beginning at 9:00 a.m. Following the Keynote, she will present a parent educational workshop entitled “The Power of Parents Equals Educational Success for Students.”
Scottsbluff, Nebraska, native Dr. Dolores Cardona, Associate Dean of Students, University of Wyoming, will serve as the Conference Luncheon Speaker. She will also serve as a parent educational workshop presenter addressing the topic “College Prep Time Line.”
Program activities for participating elementary students will include visits to designed academic stations on campus which illustrate the avenue of study and potential career areas available to those individuals who obtain a college degree. While the emphasis of the program will be the exposure to a serious academic environment, the program itself will combine enjoyable activities for 5th grade level students with the adventure of a field trip to a different place. Designed academic stations feature the following topics: (1) “Building Bridges: Adventures in Engineering,” presented by Lindy Johnson, Professional Engineer, UW College of Engineering and Applied Science, Laramie, Wyoming; (2) “Wild Kingdom: Adventures in Animal Science,” presented by EWC Veterinary Technology Instructor Dr. Ed Bittner, Torrington, Wyoming; (3) “Celebrating Literature: Capturing the Joy of Reading,” presented by Scottsbluff Middle School Teacher-Librarian Carla Vanderford and Reading Teacher Jennifer Mertz-Hand, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; (4) “It’s Great to be Bilingüe! (Bilingual) ” presented by GCSD staff Jenny Delgado and Pamela Garcia, Torrington, Wyoming; (5) “Fantasy and the World of Make-Believe,” presented by EWC Library Staff Marilyn Miller, Becky Lorenz, and Casey Debus; (6) “Baila el Mambo” (Dance the Mambo), presented by professional dance instructor Kathy Tabor of the Tabor Dance Academy, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; (7) “The Magic of Choosing Your Future,” presented by Dr. Earl Reum, Denver, Colorado; (8) “Discovering Science,” presented by Amy Tilson, Front Range Community College, Denver, Colorado.
The conference parent educational track features some of the following topics: 1) “The Power of Parents Equals Educational Success for Students,” presented by Dr. Maria Guajardo, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Youth, Denver, Colorado; 2) “Ready to Read: Fun Ways to Equip Our Children with Early Literacy Skills,” presented by Irene Romsa, Bi-Lingual and Multi-Cultural Children’s Outreach Coordinator, Poudre Libraries, Fort Collins, Colorado; 3) “Stop the Money Leak-Ensuring the Financial Means and Exploring Financial Options to Meet the Costs of Higher Education for Your Child,” presented by Molly Williams, Director, EWC Office of Financial Aid; 4) “College Prep Time Line,” presented by Dr. Dolores Cardona, Associate Dean of Students, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming; 5) “Early Warning Signs of Alcohol and Drug Use Among Adolescents: Steps Parents Can Take,” presented by Jim Jenson, L.P.C., Program Director, WMCI Alcohol and Drug Residential Treatment Program, Torrington, Wyoming; 6) “Speaking Diversely: The Value of Maintaining the Spanish Language;” presented by Dr. Maura Velasquez-Castillo; 7) “Cancer Awareness-Prevention, Screening, Resource Services, Including Cancer Statistics of Southeast Wyoming,” presented by Barb Lawyer, R.N., Program Manager, Wyoming Cancer Resource Services.
The conference is open to the public and features a free luncheon with cultural entertainment provided by “Mariachi de las Artes” of the Denver School of the Arts, Denver, Colorado. The Mariachi ensemble is sponsored in part by the Wyoming Arts Council.
The First General Session begins at 9:00 a.m., EWC Fine Arts Auditorium, Torrington, WY. On-site registration is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
A featured exhibit of the conference will include a colorful mural entitled “Paredes Hablando” (Walls that Speak) depicting the history, stories, culture, and family/community life of area Hispanics. Steven Lucero, well-known Denver muralist, was commissioned by La Radio Montanessa of Laramie, Wyoming, to create the mural which will be on exhibit for the first-time statewide, during the length of the conference, in the EWC Library Hallway.
Another conference highlight includes a drawing for four $50.00 savings bonds (for education) for participating parents. (Parents must be present to win.)
For more information concerning the conference or to pre-register, please call Anne Gardetto, EWC Student Services Associate Director, (307) 532-8328 or email:

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