HISD student selected to participate in national education conference

HISD student selected to participate in national education conference
Posted on 09/19/2017

As the student currently holding the valedictorian spot of the inaugural STEM Early College High School graduation class of 2018, Esmeralda Castillo has many things to look forward to during the school year. One of them is her invitation to attend the StriveTogether National Education Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. on Oct. 3 – 5.

A national, nonprofit network of more than 70 community partnerships, StriveTogether helps communities identify what works in education to ensure that every child succeeds from cradle to career, regardless of race, income or zip code.

As an outstanding student within the Harlandale ISD and Palo Alto College, Esmeralda was selected by San Antonio Youth Commission Manager Fatema Basrai to participate in the conference. Together, they will present the best practices for student engagement to a panel of education leaders from around the country.

“Since Esme has been so involved in a variety of clubs, she has great insight into what student engagement looks like,” Basrai said. “She is very well-spoken and has great ideas.”

Basrai and Esmeralda will be representing the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County, the San Antonio Youth Commission (SAYC) and the City of San Antonio at the conference – an opportunity Esmeralda does not take for granted.

“I’m excited! I think it’s important to give students and parents a voice. Students can make a difference by being involved in the community and knowing what’s going on in their city,” Esmeralda said. “We’re hoping that by leading a workshop to groups of teachers and community leaders, we can help them understand the importance of student voice and help them get their students involved.”

As a member of SAYC, Esmeralda works with other students to provide input on how to make San Antonio a better city.

 “I love helping people and problem solving,” Esmeralda said. “This is the only activity outside of school that I put all of my attention into because it’s really impactful and it really does make a difference.”

Now a senior at STEM Early College HS, Esmeralda feels lucky to have been a part of the first graduating class and earning her associate’s degree in engineering from Palo Alto College.

“Everyone here is a part of something special,” she said. “STEM is a brand-new school and to be able to have had so many amazing opportunities through the school, and hopefully remain valedictorian till the end, is very exciting.”

After graduation, Esmeralda hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Notre Dame University.

“I want to work with STEM companies using my background and love for engineering and focus on the business component of it,” Esmeralda concluded.

Congratulations, Esmeralda! 

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