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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Graduation is only a few weeks away for high schoolers, but an event at North Brunswick High School hopes to gear up Latino students and parents for higher education.

Maria Buenrostro has a son that is a junior at North Brunswick. She is a native of Mexico and does not speak English. She came to Latino Parent’s Night with her husband to learn about what they could do to help their son succeed after high school. She says they have always pushed their son to excel in school and wants him to go to college.

Everything said at the event was in Spanish. Parents were educated on things like classes their children should be taking in high school and preparing for college entrance exams like the SAT.

“The goal here is to help them plan financially, to help them plan the correct school for their child and just plant the seed to thinking about the possibility of higher education,” said Meghan Stepnowski, the event coordinator.

Representatives from Brunswick Community College and UNCW came out. Edelmira Segovia, a spokeswoman for UNCW’s Centro Españo says a lot of Hispanic parents don’t see the long term benefits of a college education.

“They might see the current and most immediate means in that extra income, but not realize that they’re really losing out by not supporting the students to focus on their studies,” Segovia said.

Buenrostro says because her son was not born in America, he will have to overcome obstacles in order to get a college education. She says her son wants to attend an American college or university, but if he cannot because of his status, she will encourage him to go to Mexico for a degree.

According to the 2010 US Census, the Hispanic population in North Carolina rose 111 percent in the past decade. Hispanics currently account for about eight percent of the state’s population.

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