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Oregon’s Latino students were going to college more frequently. Then COVID hit

By June 14, 2024COVID-19

Ontario High School seniors wearing their caps and gowns head to buses that will take them through Grad Walk, an annual event that takes graduating seniors to their middle and elementary schools for a celebratory march through the hallways. Nearly 70% of Ontario High students are Latino, a demographic group that had been increasing its college-going rate even as other groups saw a decline. Beth Nakamura

Shrieks and peals of laughter filled the Ontario High School library on a Tuesday evening in March, as teenage girls grabbed supplies for a craft project. Using popsicle sticks, cardboard and tape, the girls and their families tried to build miniature bridges between two chairs, symbolizing the connection between high school and college.

Over plates of Panda Express, Migrant Graduation Specialist Precila Mosqueda-Fuentes had explained to the four families gathered for orientation for the Latino-focused college promoting program that their objective was to build a family framework for higher education goals.

About the Reporting

This story was the sixth of a College Conundrum series that will be posted by The Oregonian/OregonLive in the coming week. Stay tuned for one more story exploring why fewer Oregon high school grads are entering college. This series was produced with support from the Education Writers Association.

Coming Friday: As Black student enrollment declines, Amiya Roberts fights to make college her next step

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