JPPSS Students Earn Trip to D.C. for National Latino Advocacy Days

Two Jefferson Parish Public School System students traveled to Washington D.C. recently where they joined peers from around the nation for a three-day event emphasizing the importance of engaging their elected officials.

West Jefferson High senior Jessica Aragonez and L.W. Higgins High senior Shakira Rodriguez were selected to represent the Puentes New Orleans Escalera Program during the National Council of La Raza’s National Latino Advocacy Days. About 300 Latino leaders from across the country participated in the event where students learned how to make a difference in society by speaking with state and national representatives. Along with participating in workshops with leaders in the Latino community, touring our nation’s capital, and viewing the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma, Aragonez and Rodriguez visited the offices of Representatives Steve Scalise (LA District 1) and Cedric Richmond (LA District 2).

“To close the three-day long event, they met with thirty other Escalera students from around the country and learned about how many of them are in the same situation of facing challenges, not only as teenagers but as Latino youth, which they said made them feel like they weren’t alone or different,” said Puentes New Orleans Escalera Program Director Korinna Sanchez. “Overall it was a very unique experience for these two lucky seniors.”

Aragonez has been part of the Escalera STEM program from its first days. She’s participated in the Puentes college prep program since her sophomore year. Rodriguez joined the Escalera STEM program as soon as she arrived at Higgins in September.