Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

2,000 attend youth leadership conference

About 2,000 students from middle schools and high schools in Pima County participated in the 20th Annual LULAC Youth Leadership Conference Monday and Tuesday.

It was the biggest turnout yet for the conference, according to Javier Herrera, the conference’s co-chairman.

The League of United Latin American Citizens hosted the “Education is the Key to Success: Wise Decisions Pave the Way” in partnership with Pima Community College and the Southern Arizona Institute of Leadership, at PCC’s West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road.

The conference featured a career fair and workshops on the effects of drug use, HIV/AIDS prevention, the importance of education, and safety in and out of school.

First-time attendees Briana Montano and Jocelyn Zazueta, both seventh-graders at Alice Vail Middle School, said they were excited to learn about getting into college.

“We’re talking to people who can help us pick the right classes now so we can go to college later,” said Zazueta, 14.

She also put on the “drunk goggles” provided by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and said, “Wow! I would never drive like that.” The goggles distort vision to mimic the effects of alcohol.

Tejano musician and motivational speaker Patsy Torres and the Positive Force Tour performed at the conference and encouraged students to stay in school and continue on to higher education.

“Her performance brought so much emotion out of the students it was amazing,” Herrera said.

“She touched on so many things, from relationships, to drugs, to losing someone to suicide, and many of these kids can relate to those situations,” he said.

Since 1998, the LULAC Youth Leadership Conference has had more than 88,000 middle and high school students participate from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, and Mexico, Herrera said.

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