Courtesy of the Community College of Philadelphia

Roxanna Encarnación, a Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) came to the U.S. in her early teens and went straight to CCP to obtain her education.

An alumni of the 2010 class, Encarnación now works as a loan servicer at Finanta in Philadelphia.

“It was really eye opening,” Encarnación said of her time attending classes for the first time at the Philadelphia college. “I had to make a foundation here, learn a new language and learn a new culture. It’s the most affordable school and you take your education anywhere that you want, it’s not like you can get stuck.”

Encarnación is part of a larger population of students who once believed the thought of attending college to be out of reach. There are many hurdles and challenges for those who might not have the funds for tuition or have come to the U.S. undocumented.

According to the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Roadmap for Growth report, the city’s population in 2013 was 44 percent African-American; 13 percent Hispanic or Latino; 6 percent Asian and 37 percent Non-Hispanic White. Combine these shifts with research from the Pew Research Center, which found that Latinos currently constitute the largest minority group enrolled on U. S. college campuses, and the importance of this demographic emerges.

For a second year, CCP will hosting Latino College Day on Saturday from 12 p.m. to It’s a new, one-stop resource fair designed to help young Philadelphians take their places as students, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the community.

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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post, and staff writer for Al DÍA News. Click here to learn more about Peak.