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Students get introduction to Vegas

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By Don Pace

Local college and high school students jammed historic Plaza Park last week for the Student Welcome Back Fiesta.

Students gathered on Friday night from the United World College, Luna Community College, Highlands University, West Las Vegas High School and Robertson High School to enjoy the free food, fun and live music from the local band, “Sangre Joven.”

Highlands University anthropology major Brittany McCloud is a peer mentor and was at the student fiesta with a group of seven students from the university’s Melody Residence Hall.

“I think the fiesta is a really good way to introduce students to the community, especially for the ones who aren’t from here,” McCloud said.

Dita Ni Gusti, a United World College student from Indonesia said, “Everyone here is so friendly.”

Students also got a “gift/information” book bag and a chance to learn more about local businesses, government and nonprofit agencies from people staffing information tables.

“With this fiesta, we wanted to say to students, ‘You’re important to our community,’” said Sharon Vander Meer, executive director for the Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corporation. “It also gave us a chance to thank Highlands, Luna and the United World College. These institutions have a huge positive impact on our local economy.”

Vandeer Meer said this first student fiesta was a success because of the community collaboration and enthusiasm that went into planning the event. More student fiestas are planned for the future.

“It was great to see the community come together to give local college and high school students such a warm welcome,” said Margaret McKinney, a Highlands University spokeswoman.