RENTON, WA –Eighteen students and three chaperones from the Renton School District traveled to Washington, D.C., December 1 to attend Jobs for America’s Graduates National Youth Leadership Academy. About 650 students from 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands attended a variety of workshops and social activities to help develop their career and college readiness skills. The conference kicked off with a formal award luncheon to celebrate JAG’s 35th anniversary and to recognize people who have helped build the program. The luncheon also featured student singers and speakers. There is a competition component of the conference, and the Renton delegation had four competitors, two in Employability Skills, and two in Math Skills competition. This was the first year that Washington students have been represented in the competitions.
Before the conference, Renton School District students had the opportunity to attend a Constituent Coffee with Senator Patty Murray. Senator Maria Cantwell’s office provided a capitol tour for the group, and then the students met privately with Senator Cantwell, where discussion turned to a need for school lunches that are not only healthier, but also appeal to student tastes.
While in Washington, D.C., the students visited the Washington Monument, toured some of the key memorials, and visited Arlington National Cemetery where they watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and presentation of a JAG wreath. They also visited some of the Smithsonian museums and capped off the conference with a visit to a local mall. On one of the mornings while students were in session, two Renton chaperones, Kara Crum and Kerri Dowd, were invited to the Veteran’s Hospital in Bethesda, MD, to meet the oldest living female veteran, Alyce Ellis-Dixon, who is 108 years old.
The group returned to Renton on December 6th.