On Friday August 18th College Connect celebrated the start of a new school year with our annual Back to School picnic. The purpose of the picnic is to connect College Connect students and their families. This year, the focus of the event was solidarity, healing and sharing of narratives.
The day started with lunch and sharing foods representative of the different countries our students represent. The picnic was a potluck, and students brought tres leches cake, Salvadoran quesadilla, lumpia, pasta, and lots of watermelon to share while mingling and catching up with fellow cohort members.
To break the ice – and have time for laughter – students and families played musical chairs, human knot, and a ball game. This allowed students to meet and reconnect with other cohort members. We then split into small groups where student could share their college experiences, and offer advice with our high school seniors. Parents were able to connect as well, discussing their dreams for their children’s future, and the experience of sending their children to college.
During a closing circle students and parents shared their intentions and goals for the new school year. Joanna Beltran, a cohort 5 student attending UC Santa Cruz, shared poetry she wrote reflecting on the recent shootings of unarmed men of color, and the treatment of unaccompanied Central American immigrant children. This was also a time to reflect, process, and heal from issues affecting our student’s communities.
The picnic offered time to build community, while preparing and supporting students as they begin a new chapter in their educational journeys. With 92 college students, and 25 high school seniors, College Connect is excited to embark on a new year, and supporting our students on the path to being first in ther families to graduate from college!
“Que vivan los estudiantes!” –Los Guaraguao