Mitzy Aramburo, a senior at Newton High School, decided she wanted to set the bar high for the Jobs for America's Graduates program in Newton. Really high.
Aramburo penned an essay which finished second in the state during a contest for students in the first-year program now at 25 high schools in Kansas.
"I showed people you can always do it, no matter what other people said," Aramburo said. "To people scared to speak your mind, do it. Don't be scared, no matter who you are or where you came from."
That goes to the heart of her paper — an essay titled " Una Peronsa que Habla Dos Legnuages Vale pro Dos" — Neolia Mendez.
It's a saying of Aramburo's mother, translated to English it means "Two languages, one person, twice the leader."
As a result of her placing in the top three at the state level, Aramburo and her teacher Justina Smith will take a trip to Washington, D.C. The first time for either to see the city — and the first time Aramburo will leave the state of Kansas since her family moved here eight years ago.
"I am happy for Mitzy," Smith said. "And this makes a good statement about the program. If this is the first impression of JAG, this sets a high standard for the classes to come."
The JAG program is in year one in the state of Kansas.
JAG)is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to assisting students who are most at-risk. In more than three decades of operation, JAG has helped nearly three-quarters of a million students stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
"This program helps students with barriers to success graduate from high school and succeed after high school," Smith said. "We help with full time jobs, college or military."
Students get one year of post-high school followup after graduation.
There are 35 students enrolled in the program at Newton High School. Induction and installation of class officers — including Aramburo as president — will be today at the school.
"I've never had the confidence to do something like this," Aramburo said. "This is a big deal."