Star Report

The Olympic boxer, Carlos Balderas, will be one of the keynote speakers during Allan Hancock College’s Young Educated Latino Leaders Conference, better known as the YELL Conference. The free event will be Saturday, December 3, from 9 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. at the Marian Theatre on the college’s Santa Maria campus.

The event aims to encourage students to set higher educational goals by providing college and career guidance, as well as personalized stories of success. Any male high school student from the Central Coast is encouraged to attend. Guests will receive food and have a chance to win prizes during the conference. Transportation will be provided by AHC to and from the event for students in the Santa Ynez and Lompoc valleys, Guadalupe and Southern San Luis Obispo County.

“The YELL Conference is a unique and very uplifting event,” said organizer Diana Perez, the Cal-SOAP director at Hancock. “Students will walk away with the understanding they have the ability to succeed and achieve their dreams by attending a college, like Allan Hancock College.”

Olympic boxer Carlos Balderas captivated the Central Coast during the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Santa Maria native won his first two fights in the men’s lightweight class before losing by decision in the quarterfinals. Carlos’ father and brothers introduced him to boxing when he was in elementary school as a way to keep him out of trouble. About ten years later, their decision paid off with a ticket to Rio.

Richard Santana, Ed.M. and Roberto Rivas will also be keynote speakers during the event. The founder of Homeboy Goes to Harvard Productions, Santana will share his story as a third-generation gang member who went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard University. Rivas, the founder and chief executive officer of Encuentros Leadership, will discuss the students’ rite of passage and explain how they can empower themselves to succeed.

To register online for the conference and/or transportation, visit For more information, please contact the Central Coast Cal-SOAP office at (805) 922-6966 ext. 3710.