SAN ANTONIO — Eighty high school students from around San Antonio got a chance to explore the UTSA campus Wednesday with soldiers and cadets from the Army's ROTC program.
The visit was organized by the Army and LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. One of LULAC's main missions is to educate and empower Hispanic youth.
"Whatever avenue they choose through the U.S. Army, through any of our armed forces, if that's going to help them get the opportunities that they need, by all means know that those opportunities are available for them," said Rodolfo Rosales Jr. from LULAC.
Students learned how Army ROTC scholarships could help them earn a four-year degree for free in exchange for military service. According to the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of 25- to 29-year-old Hispanics have a college degree. That's compared to 40 percent overall.
Current ROTC cadets at UTSA say that the money and the friendships make the program worth it.
"If you join ROTC, you get that camaraderie, you get a support system as well as pursuing a degree and everyone has the same goal," said Destinee Garcia, a UTSA ROTC cadet.
Many of the high schoolers at Wednesday's program say that they're seriously considering the Army as a way to pursue an education and a career.
"I feel encouraged,” said Nohemy Martinez, a high school senior. “And I feel like I made a decision and I feel confident about what I'm going to do in my future now.”