National Student Leadership Congress 2021 Participants Reflect on a Virtual Program, Receive Laptops as Gift from Comcast Internet Essentials

July 15, 2021

In June, over 200 TRIO pre-college students participated in COE’s virtual 32nd annual National Student Leadership Congress. COE hosts this simulated Congress challenge to establish a national network of emerging leaders and to enable students to understand national issues potentially impacting their futures. This year’s theme was the Challenge of Change.

Students participated in workshops, alumni panels and took virtual tours of Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center. Today, state team leaders chaperoned participants during their virtual Hill meetings with Members of Congress and students were connected to over a dozen selective colleges during our virtual college fair.

To commend this year’s participants, Comcast Internet Essentials gifted each student on the team that won the simulated Congress challenge with a laptop.

COE congratulates this year’s participants on completing the intensive week-long program and thanks the program directors, counselors, parents, partners, state team leaders, and internal staff who helped make this year’s virtual experience a success.

The following reflections are from student participants on the event.

How did the Keynote Speaker, Larry Bell, help you discover yourself and the leader within? What are your thoughts after experiencing this session?

“Without our knowledge, we were writing down qualities of our life that for me personally, I hadn’t noticed before. For example, the first thing Larry Bell had us do was think of our favorite color and write down three words that came to mind when we thought of it. My favorite color is purple, and I wrote down calm, joy, and sweet. These words are meant to highlight how others see me, and it hadn’t occurred to me that some people might see me like that, and it brought me reassurance that there are people out there who aren’t only going to focus on my bad or more negative qualities.” — Grace Waryas

My TRIO Story: Being a TRIO Leader is Important to Me and My Community because...

“Being a TRIO leader means you have to stand up for what you believe in. This must be done with body and mind; you should be able to disregard hate comments and strive to become a better person each day. Whether it be by saying good morning on a dark day or opening the door for someone, you should know that all these small acts represent your character and count up.” — Amanjyot Kaur

[Click here to learn more about the National Student Leadership Congress]

What do you look for in a college and why?

“In college I look for cost, quality, and networks. I investigate cost since it ultimately helps decide if it is a sustainable college that I will be able to handle. Then I investigate the quality. The quality of the education matters a lot. Although a college may be cheaper, if the quality of learning and the resources provided do not help me succeed, it creates a barrier for my own growth. Finally, I care if the college provides a network to both the outside world, and to my destined career.” — Mayra Garcia Hernandez

Tell us about your experience meeting with your congressional members!

“I had two congressional meetings today and they both went FABULOUSLY!! I met with staff members of Senator Leahy and staff members of Senator Sanders. All of the staff members were incredibly kind and supportive of not only me, but of TRIO as a whole as well…When telling my TRIO story, I felt seen and heard by the congressional staff. I felt that they genuinely cared, and this helped me open up and be more vulnerable with them.” — Grace Waryas

What would you tell a TRIO Student who is considering applying for NSLC?

“I would tell them that it is a fantastic opportunity that they should take advantage of because it opens so many doors to success. It helps you come out of your comfort zone when working with individuals you do not know, in a comfortable way. They show you that there is more to the world than the little area you live in.” — Trinity Bever