Carlotta Propersi, a Woodland ML teacher, (in back) took 40 Woodland students to attend the conference
Woodland High School Multilingual Learner (ML) students joined other ML students from across the region to attend the Clark County Latino Youth Leadership Conference at Washington State University Vancouver on Friday, October 7. The free conference was organized and put on by Latino Leadership Northwest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Latino students thrive and excel.
Carlotta Propersi, a ML teacher at Woodland High School, knew of the conference from prior years where her students attended remotely due to pandemic restrictions, however 2022 was the first year her students could attend in person. “Initially, I didn’t know if we would have a lot of interest, but after I let our students know, we hit the maximum enrollment of 40 students from our school with many more on a waitlist,” she said. “The conference provided our students with a variety of incredibly valuable opportunities, so we certainly plan to attend every year from now on.”
Woodland students chose from several workshops covering a variety of topics
Students chose from a wide number of workshops focusing on everything from pursuing higher education including how to secure financial aid; learning about entrepreneurship and how to create businesses; building work experience to create robust resumes; and hearing life stories from Latino professionals who live and work in Clark County and the surrounding region.
A favorite workshop among Woodland’s students was a presentation by Dr. Jaime A. Nicacio, a medical doctor with PeaceHealth, called “From the Fields to Medical School,” where Dr. Nicacio shared how he started by working fields harvesting crops before working his way through medical school to become a doctor. “I learned that not everything in life is easy and you need to work hard,” said Josselin Diaz-Montoya, a sophomore at Woodland High School. “When you find something that is important to you, you have to put it in your heart and work hard to be the example of what you want.” Diaz-Montoya plans to attend college following graduation and hopes to become a lawyer so she can help others.
Not only were the workshops educational for students, but many had also never visited a college campus prior to the conference. “Experiences are so important and visiting a college campus can help inspire and motivate students to think of opportunities in a way they may not have before,” said Propersi. “We were so happy to take a full enrollment of students to experience everything the conference had to offer.”
Yuri “Tatiana” Sanchez-Oporto, a sophomore at Woodland High School, appreciated seeing WSU’s Vancouver campus. “My favorite part was touring the college,” she said. “I plan to work hard to get what I want; I want to find a career, earn money, and succeed at life.”
Latino students from around the region had the opportunity to meet and network with one another
Woodland students also enjoyed having the opportunity to meet and network with others from around the region, sharing stories of the difficulty of having to learn a new language while also taking high school classes. “I started attending Woodland in the eighth grade and discovered how hard it is to learn English and take courses at the same time,” said Lujille Goloya, now a sophomore at Woodland High School. “At the conference, I really enjoyed attending ‘the Mindsets of Design Thinking.’” Goloya plans to become a nurse and potentially starting a bakery to pursue all of her passions.
Diaz-Montoya shared Goloya’s experience of having a difficult time learning English after moving to Woodland from Honduras. “Moving to a new country where you cannot speak a single word of the language is extremely challenging,” she said. “However, I feel like I can communicate with people better now, and I work closely with my younger sister so we can both practice our language skills; my sister is very motivated to learn new things and often asks me to help teach her.”
About Latino Leadership Northwest:Latino Leadership Northwest creates opportunities for Latino youth to build healthy relationships, advocate for their education, and become proud of the work they do. The organization envisions families, schools, and workplaces that build resilience through belonging so Latino youth can learn, grow and lead. Learn more from their website: www.latinoleadershipnw.org.
Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd