There were lots high-fives, hugs and even a few tears during Student Leadership Day, part of Hispanic Engineering, Science Technology (HESTEC) Week at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Middle school students from across the Valley convened on the Edinburg Campus to immerse themselves in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and hear from inspiring speakers on the fourth day of the weeklong event.

One speaker included Dr. Derek Greenfield, a visionary speaker, consultant and thought leader dedicated to inclusive excellence and positive change, according to his website. Greenfield has shared his high-energy motivating lectures with McDonald’s Corporation, NCAA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan Athletics, and the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Greenfield and his sidekick, Alec Virgil, got the students moving, singing and networking with his dynamic and interactive presentation to inspire them to realize their dreams and maintain a positive attitude in their daily lives.

“Today is the first day of the rest and best of your life,” Greenfield told the students, who were attentive and eager to participate in activities that included coming up with the “coolest and swaggiest handshake ever,” to sharing their emotions without feeling shame.

He told them to always be positive and to surround themselves with positive people, and to be bold in life and take charge of the future.

“Make sure you are the positive person that others want to be around,” Greenfield said. “It’s up to you what kind of mindset you bring to the world.”

Student Leadership Day also offered the hundreds of youngsters a chance to check out HESTEC’s STEM+Me Expo and participate in some cool hands-on activities and exhibits. They also had a chance to take part in the “Augmented Reality Experience,” a unique digital 3D experience that has never before been seen in the region.