Today we want to highlight the story of Edgar Omar Dominguez Casalez, who is a participant of the CLUES Youth in Action program (YA!) and congratulate him on his high school graduation.
Edgar’s journey it’s a compelling story about the good things that can happen when determined kids in challenging circumstances connect with adults who can help guide and cement their dreams. That’s true especially for first-generation college students like Dominguez Casalez.
In 2019, Minnesota’s 70 percent graduation rate for Latino students was 49th in the country, according to Minnesota Compass, a research project led by the Wilder Foundation. Only Louisiana was worse. That year, 89 percent of Minnesota’s white students graduated on time.
Minnesota had the lowest graduation rates for Latino students in the nation from 2014 to 2018.
Students who participate in Youth in Action, known as YA!, are more likely to graduate high school and pursue college. The program has a 100 percent high school graduation rate for students that stick with the program over the last four years. Mentoring is a big part of that.
The majority of students spend three to four years with the same mentor. They meet once a month during the school year and participate in larger cohort meetings. The idea is to help Latino students learn skills to help them navigate life after high school, connect them with the resources to help them get into post-secondary education, while also recognizing their leadership and ability.
MPR News spent the past semester following Dominguez Casalez as he pushed to finish high school, apply to college and keep his rodeo dreams alive, all while struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic that sickened his parents and shut down three jobs he depended on to help pay family bills and save money for school.
In a state that struggles to close persistent education gaps between white students and most students of color, Dominguez Casalez’s story shows the power of finding people who want to help and then accepting it.
At CLUES we’re happy and proud of all of your accomplishments Edgar, as well as the accomplishments of all of your peers from the YA! Program.
Congratulations class of 2021!
To read Edgar’s full story in English click here