Los Fresnos News

Student Travels to Washington DC Representing LFCISD

Emilio Flores
Los Fresnos News

Amber Ovalle, Student from Los Fresnos Highschool traveled up to Washington DC, representing Los Fresnos and the Los Fresnos CISD. According to Cindy Barrera, a Gear Up Facilitator at Los Fresnos United, Amber Ovalle was one of the seven students chosen in the RGV to attend the NCCEP GEAR Up Leadership National Conference.

What is GEAR Up?
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federal grant program focused on increasing college and career readiness in low-income communities nationwide. LFCISD was awarded this grant for the 7th grade Liberty Memorial Students back in 2018. They are now incoming 11th graders. When the students met up with the other two middle schools at LFU the grant increased to include not just 1/3 of the students, but ALL students.

GEAR UP main goals are to:
-Increase post-secondary expectations and readiness of students
-improve high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates
-raise knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, financing amount students and families.
NCCEP (National Council for Community and Education Partnerships) provides GEAR Up with youth programming, data research and evaluation, advocacy, professional development, and assistance. Barrera explains that they hold their National Conference (this year at DC) which has the Youth Leadership Conference in it. https://www.edpartnerships.org/yls

This is where youth leaders or students are provided with a national-level interactive training experience.
Barrera says “This peer-to-peer learning opportunity focuses on life, leadership, and learning”

Barrera explains that since GEAR Up students from all over the nation can attend this conference, NCCEP gives each region a certain amount of slots. Region One (Laredo to Port Isabel) was given 7 youth leader slots. We were to nominate students in our programs that show leadership qualities. The finalists for LF had to answer a series of essay questions pertaining to leadership. After, Amber from our class of 750+, we submitted her essays to Region One. The next day, Amber was awarded 1 of the 2 slots that’s Region one set aside for the extra Large Districts.

Barrera tweeted, “Today, Amber Ovalle will be traveling to Washington DC to proudly represent @LosFresnosCISD” Mrs. Barrera shares with Los Fresnos News that Amber had a blast at the conference.