NDA’s Hispanic Students Get Sneak Peak into College Life at St. Norbert


Mason Tumpach, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

NDA’s Hispanic student body had the opportunity to attend the Hispanic Leadership Conference at St. Norbert on March 30. Students toured the campus and heard from keynote speaker Joaquin Zihuatanejo.

“The purpose of this event is to dedicate a day to empowering Hispanic students to pursue their goals and give them a sneak peak into college life. Green Bay East and Preble also attended the event,” explained Mrs. Amy Stover, a Spanish teacher at NDA, and organizer of the event.

Students were given a tour of the campus and then listened to Joaquin Zihuatanejo speak about dreaming big. Zihuatanejo is a poet, spoken word artist, former high school English teacher and a father.

At the age of fourteen, everyone that Zihuatanejo cared about passed away. He had to decide if he was going to live on the streets or start high school.

“Zihuatanejo chose to attend high school, and he found refuge in a world of stories and poems. Throughout high school, he would go to the public library and study until it closed, and then he would sneak into a homeless shelter or sleep on a park bench,” said Stover.

Throughout all those hardships, he earned a full ride scholarship to a university in Texas, and his message for students was to “dream big.” Stover mentioned that “everything is possible if one works hard enough, and the only person stopping you is yourself.”

“In a way, he was telling us that we too could fulfill the American dream,” said Jair Rincon Simon, an attendee of the event.

After listening to the speaker, students participated in a plethora of mini-workshops organized by Hispanic students attending St. Norbert.

“Students gained different perspectives on participating in sports, working on campus, and commuting to campus daily,” according to Stover.

After lunch, students completed an activity which involved answering questions such as who influenced them, what places have they been, what places do they want to go to and what they want to do for a career.

Zihuatanejo also shared tips from his book Dollars for Scholars before the group headed back to NDA.

Stover is passionate about this Hispanic Leadership event at St. Norbert because it is a way to inspire students to further their education.

“Many of our Hispanic students are first generation college-bound students. They have no one in their family to guide them, tell them stories about college, nor understand the positive impact it can have on their future,” she said. “This day always gives many of our Hispanic students hope because they see other students just like them making their dreams and their parents’ dreams come true as SNC students.”

One of the most important aspects of this event is that students got to hear from a powerful speaker that shared a story with many hardships that students can relate to.

“It’s not a fictional story, but real life,” commented Stover.

NDA has been participating in this event for many years, but this was the first time SNC hosted the event since Covid.

“We went on March 3, 2020, and within two weeks the pandemic changed things for many years as we all know. This year SNC brought the event back and revised it a little for the better. It was great to be back on campus with our Hispanic students.”