BOISE — Idaho’s annual Hispanic Youth Leadership Summit is expanding this year, adding an extra date and new location in the Magic Valley.
The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs — which hosts the conference every year — will be hosting a second conference in Twin Falls in September due to increased interest from students and schools across the state.
Last October, 780 junior and senior high school students from nearly 50 schools across Idaho gathered for the 11th annual conference at Boise State University. Juan Saldaña from the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs said over 100 students were left on the waitlist.
“We hate to do that because it’s one of the only conferences that they get to do that is free,” Saldaña told the Idaho Press-Tribune.
October’s summit, hosted in BSU’s student union, was the largest gathering of Hispanics in the state of Idaho, according to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Students from as far as Coeur d’Alene drive to attend and compete for scholarships. About 85 seniors, including several from Canyon County high schools, received nearly $400,000 in scholarship money offered exclusively to summit attendees.
The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs will be partnering with the College of Southern Idaho and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association. The September conference will kick off the commission’s Hispanic Heritage Month festivities in Jerome and Twin Falls, Saldaña said.
Colleges from across Idaho and the region will be offering scholarships at both conferences. Based on feedback from several hundred student surveys, the Boise conference will continue to focus on STEM while adding more workshops in health sciences and law enforcement. Idaho students can also sign up for both conferences.
“We are going to try to go big with the summits this year,” Saldaña said.
This year’s conferences will be on Sept. 17 at College of Southern Idaho and October 24 at Boise State University.