Photo courtesy SISD
This year, 12 Socorro ISD fourth through eighth grade students participated in the 2021 Lone Star Leadership Academy Camps hosted by Education in Action.
The students were among 736 outstanding scholars who were nominated by an educator based on their leadership ability, academic success, and their involvement in school and/or community activities.
The camps were hosted by student alumni for a week in the summer of 2021 throughout various Texas cities, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio, and Houston/Galveston.
Students develop leadership skills at the camps while learning about the history of Texas and being introduced to a wide variety of unique careers.
Daniela Mendez, an eighth-grade student at Hurshel Antwine Middle School, attended the Austin/San Antonio camp where she said she learned valuable knowledge and leadership skills that she now implements in her day-to-day education.
“After I got the initial invite, I looked into it and saw it as an awesome opportunity for my future and to learn more about Texas history,” Mendez said.
Hurshel Antwine Middle School principal Patricia Fernandez said she nominated Mendez because since the first day she met her she knew she was a natural leader.
“When the opportunity came up to nominate our scholars for the Lone Star Leadership Academy, I knew she had to be one of them,” Fernandez said. “Daniela excels in every opportunity presented to her. She really is going big places.”
Some of the sites that students were able to visit included the offices of participants’ state legislators at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, The Alamo in San Antonio, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Center in Houston.
Participants discussed what they learned, completed problem solving and decision-making simulations, exercised creativity, and practiced presentation skills in leadership groups.
In addition, the participants were able to bond with other ambitious students and make new friends while adding to their resume of academic achievements and bringing home a wealth of information to supplement what they are learning in school.
David Lujan, a fifth-grade student at James P. Butler who attended the Dallas/Fort Worth camp, said he really enjoyed himself and made a lot of new friends.
“I really liked the camp, and I am going to make it my goal to get invited to the other two camps,” Lujan said.
He said he learned new leadership skills, which he looks forward to implementing at school and sharing with other students.
“It’s important to be a good leader because if people are looking up to you then you should be a good example for them,” he said.
District officials say that promoting student participation in events like the Lone Star Leadership Academy Camps is just one of the many ways Socorro ISD helps prepare its scholars to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Mendez said she felt encouraged by opportunities like this one that her school’s administration and the district promote in order for students to better themselves for the future.
“It’s comforting to know that there is always someone by your side, pushing you towards your limits, believing you could do more,” Mendez said. “It helps you want to become a leader among your peers.”
2021 Lone Star Leadership Academy camp participants*
Ethan Chavez – 5th grade, Jane A. Hambric School
Clark Haleigh – 8th grade, Sun Ridge Middle School
Christopher Gamez – 6th grade, Horizon Heights Elementary School
Ethan Gibbs – 5th grade, Jane A. Hambric School
Genesis Hernandez – 5th grade, Jane A. Hambric School
Sophia Howard – 5th grade, James P. Butler Elementary School
Isabel Lopez – 5th grade, Elfida Chavez Elementary School
David Lujan – 4th grade, James P. Butler Elementary School
Daniela Mendez – 7th grade, Hurshel Antwine School
Danika Navarrete – 7th grade, Hurshel Antwine School
Eliab Rojo – 7th grade, Hurshel Antwine School
Mariska Valdes – 6th grade, Montwood Middle School
*Grades and schools are from the Socorro ISD 2020-2021 school year when the students were nominated.