Posted: November 14, 2016

Eleven Liberty Middle School students recently accompanied Counselor Billie Jo McEathron to ¡La Chispa! (The Spark), a one-day bilingual leadership conference designed to teach leadership skills to middle school Latino students. ¡La Chispa! uses both English and Spanish to help students build self-confidence, strengthen their cultural identity, and increase academic success.

“This was my third time attending ¡La Chispa!,” said McEathron. “It is always an inspiring day! They came back enthusiastic and are eager to continue meeting.”

As relayed on the program website, for many Latino students, school is a challenging place where culture and language can create barriers to success. Through custom-tailored leadership programs delivered in both English and Spanish, Latino students can discover answers to key questions such as “Who am I?” “What can I do?” and “Where do I go from here?”

At the workshop, students interact with Latino high school role models while participating in engaging activities. Programs cover identity development, graduation and beyond, communication, group process, managerial skills, self-awareness, and human relations.

High schools throughout the state host the middle school workshops, which also develop leadership in high school students who help prepare for the event and serve as high school role models. Host high schools serve 100-250 middle-level Latino students and create leadership opportunities for 15-20 of their own Latino high school student leaders.