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Soy un Lider: inspiring and empowering future leaders
BY VALERIA SOSA H| |
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BY VALERIA SOSA
'About 11 years ago, I was sitting in
your place," said Jada Drew '07, director for
Educational Initiatives and Partnerships. "I
was trying to find my place, trying to figure
out what it was that I wanted to do.
"You're here to be closer to finding your
passion. You're here to learn what it to takes
to be a better leader."
Thus, on Nov. 22, Soy un Lider began.
Hosted by Hispanos Unidos de Guilford
and the Multicultural Education Department,
Soy un Lider is a student-run conference for
Hispanic, Latino, international and refugee
students from the Guilford, Alamance,
Forsyth and Davidson counties. Volunteers
from the College visited high schools
and middle schools and presented on the
college application process and encouraged
students to attend the conference.
Among the keynote speakers was
President Jane Fernandes.
"Don't give up on your hopes," said
Fernandes. "Always bring your best self to
every place and every situation. No matter
how hard or challenging it is, be yourself."
Yamile Nazar, keynote speaker and
mother of one of the attendees, had different
advice to offer.
"Do you ever feel like a fish out of
water?" said Nazar, as a sea of arms rose.
"We are bicultural and we are bilingual.
Understanding this is important because
when you feel like a fish out of water, you
"You are as American as apple pie. Just
with arroz and beans on the side."
This year, 400 students registered for
the conference. Of those, more than 300
attended, marking the biggest conference
since its inception.
"It was really interesting going to high
schools and presenting," said senior Eli
Cloonan, a volunteer. "I strongly believe
that this a incredible thing to do to get kids
from high school, who many not otherwise
consider going to college, to go to college."
The conference was comprised of a
series of seminars, covering everything
from the college application process to
On Nov. 22 high school students from Guilford, Alamance, Forysth, and Davidson counties came to Guilford’s campus for the Soy un Lider conference.
empowerment to financial aid. A parent
session was also held to answer questions
Irving Zavaleta '08, co-founder of Soy un
Lider, was one of the team leaders that led a
seminar on empowerment.
"I went from two month in the U.S., not
knowing any English, not knowing even the
words to 'Happy Birthday', to right here,
presenting to you," said Zavaleta. "So, si se
puede (you can dp it), you can be,a leader."
Co-chair of the conference and sophomore
Gerardo Cruz explained the importance of
Soy un Lider to students.
"We want students to come to the
conference and feel accepted, feel like they are
getting good information about application
process and options after high school," said
Cruz. "ITs very much (about) empowerment
and giving them the information they need
for future steps."
Many of the volunteers had personal
connections to the conference.
"It was a passion of mine because a lot
of my friends, especially imdocumented
friends, didn't get the resources they
needed," said former chair of Soy un Lider
Joyce Medina '14, who volunteered at the
conference. "A lot of them wanted to go to
college, but they didn't know how to, and
our coimselors barely knew how to help
Many. a.tfendees shared ^a similar story,
and attended the conference to learn mofe
about applying to college.
"We're from Puerto Rico," said high
school sophomore Abdiel Rodriguez. "My
parents didn't have a chance to go to college
because of money. 1 didn't know if I wanted
to go to college, and if I did, I didn't know
where to start. My ESL teacher told me about
it (Soy un Lider), so I came to learn."
A college fair was held in the alumni gym,
bringing representatives from colleges like
Western Carolina University, University of
North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina
State University and Salem College, among
"We feel grateful that we get invited every
year," said )Qomara Villatoro, an admissions
counselor from Salem College. "We came
to Soy un Lider because we like to help out
students, talking to them and helping them
figure out the college process. It's a way to
get more students to come to Salem and
for students to get recruited and have their
inquiries answered, and it's a win-win for
both of us."
The conference was a win-win for both
the College and attendees. Many students
left with a desire to apply to college, giving
Guilford volunteers a sense of gratitude and
elation for the success of Soy un Lider.
"I'm really happy that Guilford has invested
in developing the next generation of Latino
and international leaders," said Zavaleta.
Meet the finalists for
new dean of students
BY QUINCY MALESOVAS
Last spring, students bid their
goodbyes to Aaron Fetrow, the
former vice president for student
affairs and dean of students. Now,
it is time to find someone new to
fill his shoes.
"I am looking for a leader who
will lift up the student experience
at Guilford," said Guilford College
President Jane Fernandes, who will
be selecting the new dean. "I like to
hire great people and then let them
do their jobs."
According to the Guilford College
website, "The vice president
and dean provides leadership
in learning-centered program
development and promotes
achievement, empowerment and
With those criteria in mind, here
are the four candidates for the
position of vice president and dean
Todd Clark is currently the
associate dean of students at
Emory & Henry University. One of
his major achievements there was
increasing student retention rates
while creating a community of
"I bring a passion for student
success and for diversity," said
Clark at the student forum on
Thursday, Nov. 20.
Lisa Kirchner worked most
recently at Terra State Community
College as vice president for student
success and dean of students. While
she values professionalism, she
believes a good attitude and sense
of humor are equally important
when connecting with students.
"My career has been guided
by a passion and commitment for
working with college students
and helping them through the
transitional, interpersonal and
sometimes academic issues they
face during college," said Kirchner
in her letter of interest.
Andrew "Andy" Wilson holds a
Ph.D. with a focus in social justice
education. He is currently the
senior associate dean for campus
life at Emory University.
"I believe that liberal arts
education should consider
students' holistic experience by
providing learning that enables
them to embrace challenges and
engage in critical inquiry and
innovation," said Wilson in his
letter of interest.
Montrose Streeter is currently
the assistant vice president for
student affairs at Hobart and
William Smith Colleges.
A North Carolina native, he
possesses skills within the scope
of management, leadership and
"I have retained a passion to
positively impact student learning,
both within and outside of the
classroom," said Streeter in his
letter of interest.
KJ imm f f t lmm
MEETINGS ARE ON
MONDAYS @ 7 RM.
this week^s developments
Lacy family friend Portia Shipman
joined Senate to discuss Lennon Lacy’s
death and the protest happening this
weekend in Bladenboro. Thanks to all
the students who showed up to Senate
this semester and remember to us on
Saturday for the protest
next week’s plans
Senate will not be held on Reading Day.
Have a great winter break!
Have an idea?
Concern? Great recipe?
It’s important to us.
or visit guilfordsenate.
Compiled by Nicole Zelniker, senior writer