“I realize that AISD does not just mean people from Amarillo, but that we have students from all around the world who make our schools diverse, unique and one of a kind,” Palo Duro High School sophomore Mateo Ontiveros addressed a room of his peers and Amarillo ISD leadership as the inaugural class of Superintendent’s Ambassadors, an elite group of AISD students in grades 9-12 who represent both their school and school district in the community, wrapped up its year of service.
A roundtable forum helped forge a discussion about their individual high schools, encouraging ambassadors to share the good, the bad and everything in between with district leaders, including Superintendent Dr. West, executive directors and school board members.
“I am very grateful that AISD has invested in the education of students through high quality technology, equipping students like me in the fine arts endorsement to take our creativity to the next level,” junior Preston Alarcon told the room, reflecting on learning to correctly use digital audio workstations this year in his audio-visual class at Amarillo High.
“Learning, laughing and leading are a part of what you’ll do as you become adults and part of what life is.”
Caprock junior Aleigha Jalomo countered, agreeing there is great access to technology for students and teachers, but not always the right kind of access. Aleigha cited the use of both Chromebooks and iPads and the need to move to a single technology platform. “Having a dependable tool right next to me has made writing essays easier and creating PowerPoints more efficient,” she says. “However, I think it’s really important for Amarillo ISD to be in sync with each other when using technology.”
That kind of feedback, where these student contributors collaborate and communicate to bring to light challenges and then take their thinking a step further to inform solutions, is exactly what Dr. West had hoped for the group. “I see the Superintendent’s Ambassadors program as an opportunity for you to lead. Part of leadership is to articulate what is going well and what is not going well and then also be able to articulate what the solution is,” Dr. Dana West told them.
In the last year, their leadership development has included etiquette training, crafting their own “elevator speech,” and even media training from the sought-after Spoken Word Communications. In the next few days, the 2017-2018 class of Superintendent’s Ambassadors will receive their congratulatory letters in the mail, welcoming them to the year ahead. But for this group and those who follow, Dr. West hopes the takeaway has been to learn, laugh, lead and live. “It is important that you know AISD supports you,” she said. “Learning, laughing and leading are a part of what you’ll do as you become adults and part of what life is.”