Two students from Opelousas headed to national student conference in DC

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Two J.S. Leadership Academy junior high school students will be embarking on an special networking trip to the national Jobs for America’s Graduates student leadership conference in Washington, D.C.

According to the Daily World, Ja’Liyah Griffin and Jermia Williams will spend the week with program specialist JoAnna Augustine at the conference.

The trip has been sponsored by state Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, who spoke about the trip at the school.

Boudreaux, whose election district includes St. Landry and Lafayette parishes, told students at the school that he has been impressed with the commitment that J.S. Clark has made towards promoting career awareness in the JAG program.

Sponsoring the trip costs about $2,500 per participant, and is a way of acknowledging the school’s active participation in JAG, Boudreaux said.

“You are preparing for your future and (in JAG) you are preparing yourselves to be leaders of corporations,” Boudreaux said. “I urge you to continue to dream and to believe in each other. Above all be positive. Stick together and promote yourselves.”

Both Griffin and Williams qualified to attend this week’s conference after being selected as state officers earlier this year, according to Augustine.

Griffin is the JAG state middle school vice-president. Williams is serving as state historian.

Both girls said they were a little apprehensive about flying for the first time. 

“I’m anxious to go because I want to experience something new. At the national conference I get to meet other students from all over,” Griffin said. “As a state officer, I wanted to run for office in order to set higher goals for myself and use my speaking ability.

“I thought all along that I could go to Washington D.C. and that it would help me become a better speaker in public,” she said. “I’m proud of myself for what I have accomplished so far.”

Clark middle school Principal Tamiko Frank said there are 50 students from the school in seventh and eighth grades who are enrolled in the JAG program, which is handled through the Work Force Commission.

“The students are learning job placement and skills (in the JAG program) to give them a better opportunity for their futures and better outcomes after their graduation,” Frank said. “They especially are involved in self-esteem building, leadership collaboration and problem solving together.”

Augustine said that she and the students will be working with students from around the country on various projects. 

“They will work with other students around the nation in various skill-building activities, public speaking and various forms of competition,” Augustine said. “Then there will be the cultural aspect of D.C.

“One of the biggest things is they will be able to meet and then network with other state officers who are there. I think going on this trip will impact them and make a big difference in their lives.”

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