Sporting professional navy blazers and bright smiles, more than a dozen PSJA Student Ambassadors played a vital role in assisting and informing visitors during the 4th annual PSJA College for All Conference held Nov. 14-15 at the McAllen Convention Center.

Starting their freshman year, PSJA ISD students who showcase outstanding leadership qualities are recommended by staff to apply for the PSJA Student Ambassadors Program. If selected for the district-wide initiative, students are provided with the opportunity to build leadership skills, practice public speaking and network with other students and professionals through a variety of events during their four years of high school.

"This program is important because our students are the voice of the district," said PSJA College for All Program Director Bobbie Sue Gonzalez. "As adults we can talk about all the things happening at PSJA, but at the end of the day it is our students who validate the work."

For Victoria Barrios, a senior at PSJA Memorial Early College High School, participating in the program since her freshman year has been rewarding.

"I am very grateful to have been selected," shared Barrios who plans to graduate with an Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from South Texas College (STC) in May 2018. "Being a Student Ambassador has taught me the value of giving back and exposed me to learn all the amazing things happening in our district."

In addition to providing leadership opportunities, students in the program also gain a variety of skills depending on their interests and strengths and earn numerous community service hours.

For Kirk Miller, a senior at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, the program has allowed him to gain invaluable experience in technology and computer science.

"As an Ambassador I get to assist our PSJA Management Information Systems (MIS) and Student Data Services Departments with setting up computers and projectors and learn from providing maintenance and troubleshooting them during events," said Miller who plans to graduate with an Associate Degree in Computer Science from STC. "Thanks to PSJA I will be graduating with a lot of valuable experience under my belt."

Besides pursuing an Associate Degree while in high school and being a PSJA Student Ambassador, this summer Miller completed a rigorous internship with the PSJA MIS Department.

"It’s great to realize that I have many mentors at PSJA," said the 17-year old. "I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have received."