When I was in high school my mentors often encouraged me to go to leadership conferences. I attended at least two per year. These conferences were often the highlight of my year. We got to load into a bus and visit different colleges and high schools around Oregon. I always loved meeting other students from different schools and feeling a sense of community. I also remember going to workshops and just admiring the presenters. They always seemed so accomplished, smart and giving. I silently told myself, one day I would stand where they were. Like them, I wanted to reach my goals and be able to come back and inspire youth. I wanted to tell high school students the importance of an education and help them pursue it. Well that someday came faster than I thought as this April Linfield had the privilege of hosting the annual M.E.Ch.A Leadership Institute.
This institute is put on by M.E.Ch.A Statewide, a nonprofit connecting high school M.E.Ch.A. students to higher education. As M.E.ChA. is also an organization that supports the Latino community, I have been involved with this group since freshman year of high school. This organization developed my confidence, academics and leadership throughout high school. That’s why I was instantly thrilled when our Linfield M.E.Ch.A group was asked to host and I was asked to be a presenter. I presented a workshop about how to mediate conflict within chapters. It was such a rewarding feeling to stand in front of Latino youth and remind them how powerful they are. Standing there, I remembered back to my silent vow many years ago and couldn’t stop smiling. It’s funny, when I co-founded the M.E.Ch.A chapter at Linfield; I never thought we would get such an amazing opportunity in our second year. I am so proud of our group members for working hard and our presidents for keeping us unified. Helping host the leadership institute, is one of those wildcat moment s I will never forget!