Leslie’s story is one of self-advocacy. A strong student in a large high school, she would not normally pop up on the CIS radar for needing support, but she is a young lady who is driven to find what she needs to be successful.
Moving from El Salvador to the United States in the sixth grade, Leslie arrived in her new home with very limited English. She worked hard in school, learned English quickly and excelled in academics. But Leslie has been alone during much of this transition; her mom works 70-80 hours a week to support their family. Unstructured time was very difficult for a bright student who thrives on engagement. She needed a guide and a friend to help her reach out and plug in.
Huguenot High CIS Site Coordinator Elizabeth Edwards was the right guide. Together they found several CIS activities that would enhance her high school experience and offer her opportunities to realize her potential. Leslie is both participant and leader in:
- UniFalcons, an after school group for students who identify as LGB&T.
- Federal Reserve Mentoring program, a biweekly meeting with mentors to set goals, plan educational pathways and learn about the professional workplace.
- International Club allows students to come together and develop ways to spread awareness about their diverse cultures and advocate for specific needs.
In addition to her CIS activities, Leslie also participates in Partnership for the Future, Change the World RVA and is a member of the Huguenot Educational Action Research Team (HEART), a group of students who conduct action research with the student body and staff to improve school climate and foster an inclusive culture.
Elizabeth says, “Leslie is a revolutionary force of her generation. I can’t wait to see the great things she’ll do!”