By Juan Miret
Hispano de Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma — Two dates. Two groups. Six hundred participants. One auditorium. That’s how Deborah Easter describes the two education and business conferences that are scheduled for Nov. 1 and 3 at Oral Roberts University for Hispanic youth at high risk of dropping out of school.
Easter, who chairs the organizing committee for the Latina Business Summit and the Latinos XY Factor Summit, offered details for the fifth annual event.
“This year we will be showing the students what an important role participating in sports can be,” Easter said in an e-mail. “Our youth can benefit significantly from participating in sports by gaining self-discipline, self-confidence. We also want to show how excellence in sports can help finance their college career through sports scholarships.”
One of the main speakers will be Joe Medina, a teacher of science and theology and a coach at Cascia Hall school. “Education and sports go hand in hand,” he said as he toured the Commandos’ soccer field. “I am excited to be part of the conference. My parents emigrated from Ecuador in the 60′s and I am very happy to work with Hispanic youth. It is an honor.”
Medina explained that young people today “say they do not need help, but in reality it means they are asking for help, a guide, a model to follow. And that is what the conferences will provide: guides and models.” He said “sports are the best formula for staying in school. It avoids distractions and motivates you forever.”
Easter will address what she considers a “cultural custom” among Hispanics, meaning that young people do not have extracurricular activities after regular school hours. “Some families maintain this practice simply because everyone needs to help to survive financially.”
However, she said, “we are trying to close the athletic gap by casting …