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La Liga de Las Americas

The Latina/o leaders of tomorrow

By Marivel Aguirre, La Prensa Reporter

[email protected]


The Latino leaders of tomorrow are growing up and living right next to you. And they are the Latino children you see at play everyday, at the supermarket with their parents, doing homework by the window, or just dreaming of a better tomorrow.


Mexican-born Anayeli Rojas of Columbus is dreaming of a better tomorrow but she is also working towards making it a reality.

Anayeli Rojas with her parents Graciela Osorio and Miguel Rojas at their house in Columbus.

This past week, from July 2-7, Anayeli had the opportunity to attend the National Young Leaders Conference (NYLC) in Washington, DC thanks to the help of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Columbus chapter. LULAC raised the money necessary to pay for Anayeli’s trip, tuition, and registration costs.


The NYLC is a program of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC), a non-partisan organization located in Washington, DC.


According to the CYLC website, “CYLC program scholars represent the upper echelon of today’s youth in both academic performance and community leadership. Each student is hand-selected for nomination…ensuring that every participant possesses the drive and determination to emerge as a future & world leader.” (For more information, visit www.cylc.org)


Anayeli was one of those students hand selected by her homeroom teacher, Mrs. Oswald, from Highland Elementary School in Columbus. Anayeli was the only Latina student selected from her school.


LULAC President William Melendez said they decided to help Anayeli raise the funds necessary to attend the conference both because she has shown great potential and to give her the opportunity to visualize what the future holds. He also said that unfortunately many Latinos have the potential but not always the opportunity to fulfill it.


Anayeli’s parents, Miguel Rojas and Graciela Osorio, said they are very proud of her and will support her in whatever path she chooses to follow later in life. They are both natives of Puebla, the Mexican state that lays about 60 miles southeast of México City.


Anayeli came back from her trip on Friday and on an interview on Saturday she told La Prensa she enjoyed her trip very much. She not only got to participate in the conference but she also got to see the sights in Washington, DC.


At the conference the students were put into groups of about 15 students each and each group had to develop a theme related to leadership. Her group’s theme was respect.


Respect, she said, “is important if you want to be a leader because you have to respect other people.”


When asked who inspired her and who she respected as a leader Anayeli chose her homeroom teacher, Mrs. Oswald. She said Mrs. Oswald respects everyone else and has confidence in herself and she instills this confidence and respect for others in her students.


Anayeli, like many Latino students, has a very promising future. They are the leaders of tomorrow and, as a community, we must ensure their future is much brighter than their present by supporting them like LULAC supported Anayeli to attend the conference. Events like this hone and fine-tune their leadership skills and we hope to see them become good leaders in the future.






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