Kitlapalojua (Welcome)! Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) is a program designed to create a kalpulli (community) which empowers MSU Denver students to become exceptionally accomplished mentors, focused on developing culturally experienced high school students through a yearlong endeavor. This is accomplished by Journey mentors commuting on a consistent basis to participating high schools and implementing study sessions, which are geared specifically to meet the standards of the Journey Through Our Heritage Program and its curriculum.
Journey Through Our Heritage concentrates on bringing Denver and the Metro area high school students together, by participating in an academic competition that explores the distinct features of American Indian, Xikana/o, Mexicana/o, Mexican–American, Red Bone, African/African American, and Chicana/o studies. To enhance the culturally relevant curriculum, the students write college level essays and compete in jeopardy style exercise to enhance the intense and beneficial educational experience available to the students enrolled in the program.
We jump-start the year with a Welcome Back ceremony in late fall or early winter. This brings our kalpulli together and celebrates our relationship as mentors and students. In Mexikayoyeliztli aid ixpoliuz!!! Ixkichka Moztla!!!
The next series of events are called the Jornada (Journey). They begin with an essay competition designed to form the technical prowess necessary to build students ability to compete in college level environments. The essay competition hones reading, writing, grammar and comprehension skills. Next step in the Jornada is the public presentation of the essay section, which develops student’s ability to speak in a public and professional setting. In this event teatro, music, dance and art are incorporated to create sensory experience. No more boring speeches!
The last event in the Jornada is the Jeopardy style competition, which allows students to develop their memorization, study skills and assist students in developing strategies in acquiring the information necessary for academic success. While the competition is the grand finale of the Jornada, this competition is the grand finale of the Jornada, which involves developing basic study skill that last a life time, such as: time management memory technique, note taking, textbook study, test preparation and test-taking skills. The student’s devotion to academic success is a yearlong focus for both mentors and students alike.
In addition to the Jornada, the Journey program also embraces several other projects. Including mentors for the after school cultural arts program at the Mauricio Saravia School of the Arts and involvement with several nonprofit organizations such as Sister of Color United.