Group photo of students attending the HAAC Youth Leadership Summit at Stockton University on Saturday, May 21. Photo courtesy of the Hispanic Association of Atlantic County
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY – Forty-three Latino students from all around Atlantic County listened to speakers and learned leadership skills on Saturday, May 21 when the Hispanic Association of Atlantic County hosted the 2022 Youth Leadership Summit at Stockton University.
The day-long event drew students from Absegami, Atlantic City, Atlantic County Institute of Technology and Pleasantville high schools. The summit was created to engage and motivate the next generation of Hispanic leaders and empower them to pursue secondary education or career training upon graduation.
“Atlantic County and HAAC aims to provide leadership training, educational scholarships and various resources at no cost to the citizens that we serve especially during the pandemic,” said Jessica Grullon, associate director of admissions services at Stockton.
“We thank the planning committee for their tireless work, our educators who took time on their Saturday to bring their students, our phenomenal speakers, and our sponsors for making this event possible. We are excited to host the Youth Leadership Summit again next year,” added Grullon, who also serves as first vice president of HAAC.
Norma Morales, one of the organizers, said during follow-up comments Monday at the HAAC’s general membership meeting that the summit was moving to her.
“We were able to open the minds on these beautiful students because certain students, their minds weren’t set,” Morales said. “I had four students that came to me and said, ‘Ms. Morales, I want to go to college.’ This made me so happy that I cried when I got home. What a job we did for these students to really want to go to college.”
Grullon said the theme of the summit was Unleashing Your Inner Potential, which was incorporated into the leadership development workshops, activities, panel discussions, talent show and award ceremony.
She said students left equipped with the tools necessary to develop leadership skills, access a college education, and explore career options. The festivities for the day were guided by distinguished Latino and African American professionals who served as lead educators, college mentors, volunteers and panelists.
HAAC president and renowned Latino leader Bert Lopez engaged the children and praised the effort of organizers for their work.
Sponsors for the summit included Stockton University, Atlantic City Electric, Stockton University Unidos, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, AtlantiCare and Atlantic Cape Community College.
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