The following article was contributed by Annette Jones, Ed.S., Assistant Director for School Leadership at NCEA.
Two years ago, the NCEA Board of Directors approved a plan to find and recognize those young people – in our Catholic elementary and secondary schools who, through their faith, service and vision were changing their local communities. We knew that inspirational young leaders were modeling innovation, acts of charity and philanthropy in our Catholic schools!
From the numerous quality applications we received, ten young women and men were selected as the recipients of the National Catholic Educational Association’s Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award.
In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me. ~ Matthew 25
On February 23, Juliana Esparza, a grade 12 student at Frassati Catholic High School, Spring, TX (Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston) was honored as a National Catholic Educational Association’s Youth Virtues, Valor, and Vision Award recipient for her distinguished and sustained excellence in service to others.
Juliana was alarmed that the high school drop-out rate is increasing and approximately 45% of Hispanic high school students do not finish high school. She envisioned helping at-risk students find their true potential.
Using her God-given gifts, she started a non-profit organization called Live It Out, which helps students develop a life plan by creating academic, social, and economic objectives in order to see high school as a vehicle to reach their goals.
In the summer of 2017, Live It Out held a successful inaugural camp. Twenty-four students, who were awarded full scholarships, discovered their talents, passions, and skills that will serve them now and in the future.
Congratulations, Juliana on making a difference in your community!