SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - In a packed room of more than 1,700 Utah students, Gov. Gary Herbert stressed what he called the "significantly important" impact of higher education for students of all ethnic backgrounds.
The annual Multicultural Youth Leadership Summit, held Monday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, featured keynote speakers from state government and former high school students who overcame obstacles facing minority students trying to go to college.
"If you want a good job," Herbert made students chant, "Get a good education!"
"They need to understand that there are people there to help them," Herbert told reporters. "We love them. The diversity of our state has given us a stronger fabric than we had before. These young people are welcome additions to Utah and all that we stand for here. We need to make sure they know we love them and care about them and we are here to offer help," he said.
Herbert said the state plans to fund more educational programs to help minority students graduate and go on to post-high school education.
Angie Gamarra, a student at the University of Utah, overcame those obstacles.
"I just want them to take risks, and I want them to take action and I want them to purse an adventurous academic journey," said Gamarra, whose parents came to Utah from Peru in 2004.
Gamarra and other students who spoke at the summit said one of the main obstacles facing minority students is lack of faith in their potential, both on their part and on the part of their mentors.
"Go get help! There's no excuse for not graduating," said Jolly Karongi, also a student at the U. "They should go get help if they have any problem." Karongi came from the Republic of Congo.
Students also participated in workshops throughout the day.
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