Six student delegates from the University of Guam TRiO Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound programs participated in the Council for Opportunity 24th Annual National Student Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C. from June 8 to 13, 2013. This year’s event brought 150 Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, and Talent Search students from 25 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Student delegates in NSLC are juniors or seniors who are nominated by their TRiO directors because of their leadership potential.
“My experience at the 24th Annual National Student Leadership Congress was something I will never forget,” said Joie Payumo, 17. “I made new friends, learned how Congress works, and the steps required when proposing a bill, and toured Washington, D.C.”
Throughout the week, students also participated in an interactive workshop on conflict resolution, attended discussions about college, visited the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, went on a historical tour of Washington, D.C., attended a performance at the Kennedy Center, and visited Guam delegate Madeline Bordallo on Capitol Hill.
“In our meeting with congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, we discussed the importance of TRiO in our lives and how it prepares young people for higher education,” said Payumo.
One of the highlights of NSLC is the Mock Congress, which is designed to extend the values of democracy and citizen participation by engaging the students in activities that address current issues of concern, increase their analytical skills to successfully prioritize important issues and courses of action, and gain a better understanding of the legislative process. In the Mock Congress, the students examine current issues and discuss viewpoints for and against the issue. They must research, write, debate, and develop bills of legislation.
The steps of the process are similar to those in Congress itself. Students examine the topic, select a subtopic for the subcommittee, research and craft the bill in subcommittee, sponsor debate of the merits of the bill, complete final mark up on the bill to be ready for full floor reading and voting and present the bill.
“Now, I’m more aware of how the decisions made in Congress affect our daily lives,” said Payumo.
This year, some of the bills introduced included topics such as violence in video games, whether privacy in social media should be protected, the question of whether school cafeterias contribute to the nation’s obesity problem and same sex marriage.
“We really enjoyed the research involved to enable them to argue both sides of the issue,” said Payumo.
TRiO is a federally funded, nationwide, non-profit program designed to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are first-generation college bound and/or who are from low-income households, complete secondary education and continue to pursue and complete postsecondary education. TRiO programs are composed of three educational opportunity outreached programs: Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services.
UOG TRiO’s mission is to motivate and assist economically and educationally disadvantaged students from our community and Micronesia, to ensure their progress through the academic pipeline, from middle school through post secondary programs, and to increase college retention and graduation rates of the target population. For more information about UOG TRiO programs, call 735-2245. (UOG)