Twenty Latino high school students graduated from the Leadership Without Limits program on September 24 at the Macon Convention Center.

Family, friends and staff from the U.S. Department of Education Migrant Education program celebrated with the students, who presented seven community service projects prior to graduation.

“I learned from this project that it takes one person to make a change,” LWL 2016 graduate Maria Simental said. “For our community service project, there were two people. We were able to get our whole school involved through a canned food drive.”

LWL is a leadership program for migrant youth from around the state funded by the Migrant Education program.

Graduation was the culmination of the LWL program that also included a session at the University of Georgia from June 6-16, where the students learned about the college admissions process, scholarships, and community and civic engagement.

The students, under the direction of the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development faculty Carolina Darbisi, with the assistance of UGA student mentors, explored team building, group dynamics and various styles of leadership through activities and presentations.

They lived in UGA dorm rooms, participated in English Language Arts classes, leadership workshops and built an obstacle course. They relied on their communication and teamwork skills to conquer the course at UGA’s Ramsey Student Center.

The students also visited both Athens Technical College and UGA Undergraduate Admissions to become acquainted with the admissions and enrollment process for both schools.

They evaluated their leadership styles and communication, and discussed how to improve and utilize those skills in alternative situations. They also identified and researched issues they saw as critical problems facing their generation and the migrant farm worker community.

The LWL students learned the importance of valid sources and supporting evidence, and to identify ways to solve generational issues.

“My purpose is to do something greater than myself,” participant Johstin Reyes said.

For more information about Leadership Without Limits and other Fanning youth leadership development programs, please visit our website.