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Source: Mirta Chavez, 785-532-6276,
News release prepared by: Kayela Richard, 785-532-1546,

Friday, Oct. 1, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Encuentro is a day when Latino students in high school and college come from across the state to Kansas State University to further develop leadership skills and celebrate their cultural heritage.

This year's Encuentro will be 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom. Open to all students, faculty and staff, the event is part of K-State's Hispanic Heritage Month activities.

"Encuentro is an educational tool that assists in Latino student identity development," said Mirta Chavez, director of the multicultural program at K-State.

The day will feature two speakers: Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, and Frank Martin, head coach of the K-State men's basketball team.

Sepulveda will speak at 10 a.m.

"Mr. Sepulveda earned a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard University. He was the third Latino ever to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and graduated with a combined degree in politics, philosophy and economics from the Queens College of Oxford University," Chavez said.

Martin, the 2010 Big 12 Conference coach of the year, will speak at 1:45 p.m.

"Frank's leadership role speaks volumes to so many young Latino students who want the American dream, but view it as out of their reach in their current situation," Chavez said. "Frank's national exposure gives young Latino students across the country a role model to be proud of. He's an excellent example of how persistence and hard work does pay off. We're extremely lucky to have a man of Frank's caliber serving as our head basketball coach."

The Hispanic American Leadership Organization at K-State hosts Encuentro. Members are dedicated to promoting the Hispanic culture on campus and throughout the Manhattan community. The organization also develops leadership skills and encourages academic excellence.

"HALO reaches out to students by participating actively in university recruitment initiatives," Chavez said. "The students set up information tables and provide information about the organization's philosophy, membership and activities throughout the year."

Goals for the Hispanic American Leadership Organization at K-State are continual growth in membership, further development in leadership skills, and continuing to assist in providing an inclusive environment for all Latino students on campus.

"I have worked with several Latino students who have found it difficult to make a transition to a place where there are not many Hispanics," Chavez said. "The Hispanic American Leadership Organization is a student group that assists the institution in providing our Latino students with a home away from home."

"Programs, such as the Encuentro, are essential educational resources for all students on campus," Chavez said.