The Laredo Independent School District Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) members are leading the way in and out of the classroom by leading with heart, inspiring change, supporting growth, and driving results.

The LISD SSAC is one way for students to unlock the leader in themselves by engaging in projects that benefit fellow classmates, the district, the community and service to others. All the members agree that being a part of the Advisory Council has allowed them to hone their leadership and advocacy skills.

“We meet with the Superintendent and make suggestions. We interact with students from the other high schools and just talk about our experiences in school and what we could improve in our school district,” said Mia Cuevas, a junior at the Hector J. Garcia Early College High School.

 As a member of the Advisory Council, Martin High School senior, Noah Romero feels like he has been able to create a direct impact as a role model within the community. “We're able to talk about our campus concerns and offer solutions. We even get to go to the elementary schools and read to the kids,” said Romero. “We really want to be a part of this community and we want to set an example for the young leaders of Laredo.”

As active members of the Advisory Council students take part in the District’s Literacy Project, which is an initiative that began several years ago to increase the literacy rates of the district’s elementary students. 

“I like the whole idea about reading to the kids and developing their literary skills because it’s very valuable to them in life,” said Cuevas. “The kids are able to have fun while reading but also develop skills that will be beneficial to their future.”

Prior to each meeting, the members visit an elementary school and read a book to a class. This month the Advisory Council read “Charlie the Ranch Dog” to Sanchez/Ochoa, Don Jose Gallego, Daiches, Zachry, Bruni, Dovalina Heights, and J.C. Martin Elementary Schools second and third grade students/classes. 

For Cigarroa High School senior Mirya Torres reading to the children is so much fun.

“I love the way their faces light up when we're asking them questions. Me and my friends, we love reading to the kids. We see ourselves in them and it's the best,” said Torres. “We incorporate our high school experiences to the stories we are reading. So, we're like, when you get to high school don't stop, keep going, growing, and learning. We just try to bring some of our life lessons into those stories.”

“I absolutely love reading with the kids. It's a great experience,” said Romero. “It feels really nice to be able to set an example for these kids and their eyes shine so much brighter when they see people like them. We want to make sure they're in a position where they're in a good standing with their school and in many extracurriculars activities. We want to see these kids be outgoing in life.”

During the last Student Advisory Meeting, Cuevas requested that the group begin reading to the Special Education and Autism Unit students. So, for the first-time advisory members had the opportunity to read to LISD Special Education students.

“I notice that sometimes they're excluded from certain events or they don't have the opportunity to participate in as many things as regular students do. So, this is a nice opportunity for them to experience something that we've been doing for a couple of years,” said Cuevas. “I like knowing that I’m able to make a difference in our school community and create a more inclusive environment for students with disabilities.”

Garcia Early College SSAC student representatives had an opportunity to read to an Autistic unit at Sanchez/Ochoa Elementary School, and the Cigarroa SSAC student representatives read to an FLS unit class at Daiches Elementary School.

The Advisory Council members attend four meetings during the school year for about two hours with LISD Superintendent Dr. Sylvia G. Rios. They discuss different issues ranging from academics to extracurricular activities. Additionally, the Advisory Council gives the students an opportunity to be heard and express their ideas and concerns about their campus.  

“The Council allows the students to have open dialogue where they can be honest and open about what is happening on their campus,” said Dr. Sylvia G. Rios, LISD Superintendent of Schools. “It’s great that they are able to express their concerns and exchange ideas with their peers.”

During advisory meeting the students hear presentations from community members on a variety of school issues including safety, technology, financial aid and scholarships.

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council is comprised of student representatives from Martin, Nixon, Cigarroa, and Garcia Early College High Schools. School administrators from each campus select a diverse mix of students who are involved in extracurricular activities. Also graduating seniors, who are members of the Student Advisory Council, receive a Black Cord to wear at graduation.