ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A new program for Rogers schools is preparing Hispanic and Latino students for big futures.

The program is called LEAD and it’s put on at Rogers High School, Rogers Heritage High School, and Rogers New Technology High School through a partnership with the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce.

LEAD stands for leadership, education, activation, and development. Milton Martinez is the student success coordinator at Rogers New Technology High School, one of the three rogers high schools with the lead program.

“You don’t have to be a certain color, you don’t have to be a certain gender to be able to be successful in life,” said Martinez.

Geovanny Sarmiento is the Vice President of Community Engagement and Inclusion for the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce. He said in order to bring more businesses to the area, students need to be workforce ready, and that’s the main goal of LEAD.

“A new reality that our school district is minority majority,” said Sarmiento. “Over 50 percent of our student population identifies as a group of minority group. So, we need to pay a lot of attention to that.”

LEAD illustrates that life after school can be fun as well.

LEAD takes the students on their first college campus visits and to leadership conferences.
It also brings in speakers frequently.

Sarmiento said they try to bring in speakers who represent the Hispanic and Latino community. He said it builds trust between the students and the speakers when the speakers look and sound like the students.

Martinez said representation is so important for these students to find role models within the community. He said LEAD is a confidence boost for them as well.

Only 70 students were expected to join the LEAD program when it began in December, but it’s growing fast in popularity. Now, it serves one hundred students and Martinez expects it to double in size by next school year.

Check out more information on the Rogers-Lowell website here.