Participants in the 2018 Feria de Educación flash the familiar "Stingers Up" salute during festivities at the annual education event for Spanish-speaking students and their families. (Sacramento State/Erica Perez)
By Cynthia Hubert
The setting will be festive, the objective serious as Sacramento State welcomes thousands of Spanish-speaking students and their families to the seventh annual Feria de Educación on Saturday.
The event is meant to provide Spanish speakers with information and resources to help them navigate California’s educational system.
Participants will be welcomed with campus tours, workshops, mariachi music and more, with representatives on hand from community colleges, California State University, and the University of California.
Dozens of buses carrying K-12 students from across Northern California are expected to roll onto campus Saturday morning for the daylong education fair, which last year drew more than 6,000 participants, said Viridiana Diaz, assistant vice president for Strategic Diversity Initiatives.
“The idea is to show students and their families a path to college, and a path to a better life,” Diaz said.
Sac State's first Feria, in 2013, drew about 2,300 people, she said, noting that participation has grown steadily since then.
Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen said the University is proud to host the festival, which he called "one of the premier events at Sacramento State."
"We are committed to serving our Hispanic community, and I am honored that Sacramento State continues to be the home for this critical partnership," Nelsen said.
The fair will feature workshops in both Spanish and English that are geared toward high school seniors, parents, transfer students and others, Diaz said. Workshops will cover financial aid, college preparation, services for undocumented students, early childhood education and career options, among other topics.
Help will be available for students and their families filling out college admissions and other paperwork. Dozens of exhibitors will promote education programs, and 10 students each will be awarded $1,000 academic scholarships.
Sac State, CSU and Univision are primary sponsors of the event. Special guests will include Jorge Aguilar, superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District; and Liliana Ferrer Silva, Mexico's consul general.
Live entertainment will continue throughout the day, including performances from mariachis, Aztec dancers and Ballet Folklorico. Additional activities include a “visualization photo booth” in which participants receive a picture of themselves wearing college regalia or clothing that reflects their chosen professions. The photos are designed to serve as academic inspiration, Diaz said.
“We’re going to try to have something for everyone,” she said.
Sac State is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a designation applied to universities with a Latino student population of at least 25 percent. The designation makes campuses eligible for federal grants and other support to help ensure Latino student success.