Wednesday, February 8, 2017

RUP Junior Represents ATS at Georgetown University and Washington DC!

Hi, I’m Giselle Gonzalez,

a junior at Roseland University Prep.

This past June I attended the National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC) in Washington D.C. The Academic Talent Search program selected me as a student delegate!  I stayed in the dorms at Georgetown University. The NSLC consisted of 151 TRIO (including Talent Search and Upward Bound) students from all over the United States. My experience there was unlike any I’ve ever had. I can't help but smile when I think about it. I had never been to Washington D.C. before so everything was new. Upon my arrival, I was welcomed at the Reagan National Airport, then taken to Georgetown by the NSLC staff. When I was all settled in I went to eat lunch, as soon I walked in I was blown away by what I saw.

The room was filled with more than a hundred teenagers, who all clapped as we entered.  

Everyone was so buoyant and very welcoming. I was assigned to be in a group with eleven other student delegates and a staff member as our leader. By the end of the week those twelve individuals were no longer strangers, but close friends. Larry Bell, one of our guest speakers, taught me that how to be more accepting of others and how to always keep and to be proud of who we are. Mr. Bell helped many people open up and share some of their personal stories. Roberto Rodriguez, the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Education, who has worked alongside President Obama, taught me to value education. That if I love something to pursue it and not let anything get in my way. Richard Taylor, a TRIO alumnus, shared his experience growing up and being part of the TRIO programs. One of the main tasks assigned to us was that we had a mock trial in which each group presented a law. This task challenged us to think outside of the box. As a student delegate I had the opportunity to meet up with Chrystal Martinez, Legislative Assistant to California Senator Feinstein. I felt like I connected with her because she was also a young Hispanic woman who really motivated me. I had the opportunity to ask her questions about what she did to get where she is now, she had some questions for me as well. Hearing her story really motivated me, she showed me that a young Hispanic girl can do it; to ignore everything society has to say and just do it.

I met many people who I am still in contact with, all of different races and cultures which I learned a lot from. I shared with them traditions I do in my hometown and they did the same. Not only did I meet new people and learn an abundance of new things but I had the opportunity to visit some special places in DC. I visited the Capitol Hill, Union Station, The Lincoln Memorial, The Smithsonian, The Martin Luther King Memorial, The Air and Space Museum, and The White House.


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