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Photo by Cynthia M. Gonzalez

LASO Hosts 2012 Youth Leadership Conference

Photo by Cynthia M. Gonzalez

By Cynthia M. Gonzalez Aurora, Ill.- Although fall break began this past Friday for AU students, many came back to school to help a great cause.  LASO hosted their 2nd Annual Youth Leadership Conference after last year’s success.

Over 200 high school students attended and were eager to get started. LASO began with their welcome remarks in the Crimi Auditorium and when they finished the students were able to attend two workshops of their choosing.

Workshops included: “Is College Within Your Reach”, “So You Want To Go To College”, “ABC’s of Financial Aid, “Motivated To-Go”, “The Male Experience”, “Supporting Undocumented Students”, “Setting Yourself Apart: How to be a Leader” and “Speak Up”.  It was definitely a busy day, but students showed great interest and were happy to hear what the AU students had to say.

Monica Diaz and Karina Valles, juniors from Plano High School, attended the “Is College Within Your Reach” presentation presented by AUSA and said, “We learned that money should never be an issue while getting an education. Everyone has their own story, but if you’re very determined you can make it”.

Teachers were excited and happy that conferences like these are available for high school students. Guillermo Pedroni, a teacher from East Aurora High School stated, “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing adolescents become adults. I enjoyed seeing how some of my own students from the past are hosting and helping at this conference. I really do hope these high school students learn something today and see that it is possible to obtain a college education.”

After students attended the workshops they were led to the gymnasium for pizza and AU’s LEAD Program hosted team building activities. The activity included using marshmallows and pasta to try to create a tower. Students were able to work together and have fun constructing a tower out of simple household items.

As the conference came to an end, students were able to share their thoughts about the conference. Andrea Sanchez, a senior from West Aurora High School said, “This is my second year attending the conference. I liked it a lot and it’s currently helping me with my preparation for college. Thank you to LASO for hosting an amazing event”.

Various high schools around the area including East Aurora, West Aurora, Aurora Central Catholic, Dundee Crown, Plano, and Rosary High school were in attendance.  The conference was held in Crimi Auditorium and in various classrooms in the Institute building.

Many of AU’s organizations led workshops aiming towards motivation, leadership and self-empowerment. The Aurora University Student Association, AU Dunham Scholars, Gamma Phi Omega Int’l Sorority, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, AU Office of Admissions/Financial Aid, AU Office of Latino Initiatives, LEAD Program, Men’s Lacrosse Team, the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action and AU’s Office of University Communications participated in the event.

Overall the conference was another great success. High school students left with more knowledge and felt motivated knowing that attending college is possible for them.