Waking up early on Saturdays is tough, its even worse when the cloudy skies outside make you want to curl up in bed even more. But, on Saturday, January 27th, forty Houston area high schoolers made their way to Rice University for a day of intense leadership training.

Students started the day out with learning What is at Stake? Why is it so important for youth to be present and become leaders capable of initiating change? Ivan Sanchez, former University of Houston-Downtown Student President and current Congressional candidate, spoke on his background.  He explained that despite his underprivileged background, he was adamant of taking the lead, when no one else wanted, and to make change for his beloved Latino community.


Leadership is all about teamwork so students did the Marshmallow Challenge, where key communication and critical thinking was necessary to create a sturdy structure. Three students presented on their trip to Washington D.C. they traveled across the country to advocate for a clean Dream Act. See pictures from their experience below.






In the afternoon, Civic Duty Rice, a non-partisan civic engagement student organization, facilitated a public speaking exercise. After overview basic public speaking practices, students could choose one of three specific trainings: public speaking as it pertains to campaign volunteering, debating, or podcasts and interviews.


Now, it was time to start putting all these great leadership skills to practice! Students broke off into their school groups and began planning civic engagement projects for their schools. Some of the ideas that surfaced were voter registration drives, candidate forums, cultural and community festivals, and ESL advocacy.


We are so excited to see what our students will accomplish in these few months!




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