Bio:Awura Osei is a sophomore and IB Diploma Programme Candidate from Parkdale High School. Awura currently is serving as the President of Parkdale’s Class of 2016. When at Robert Goddard French Immersion School, Awura had the privilege of serving as Student Body President as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook Committee. Currently she has a 3.8GPA and is taking Honors, AP, and IB courses. To keep active Awura is a member of the Parkdale Varsity Cheerleading Team. Awura is consistently focused on excelling in her academic pursuits. Since an early age her family has encouraged her to be hardworking and dedicated. Serving her school community has always been imperative to Awura. Through her leadership the class of 2016 currently has a surplus of funds and is leading Parkdale in fundraising efforts. Ask any of her teachers or peers, they will consistently describe Awura with these three words, “Poised, Organized, and Reliable!” Being bilingual her communication skills are outstanding. Allowing her to reach Prince George’s County’s numerous international students. Providing the opportunity for their voices to be heard! Awura Osei, “Bridging the gap, one step at a time!”
A leader is a solicitous and reliable person who aids in the organization of something.
Where do you draw your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from my considerate spirit, observing my role models and desire to help others.
What inspired you to be a leader? Becoming Student Council President at Robert Goddard French Immersion allowed me to discover that I have a large voice and I must use this blessing to speak for others, advocating for them. That is what inspired me to be a leader.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? Personally, I believe that the most important tool for a student leader is the drive and desire to improve persistently.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? If I were to counsel someone who aspires to be a student leader, I would advise them to always be aware of their activities and to plan accordingly in order to balance themselves to excel in all of their activities.
What is an interesting fact about you? Something interesting about me is that I am in love with the film, Titanic. Also, in my free time, I enjoy writing narratives. I have been writing since the humble age of 8 and to this day, I still have a few of my very first stories. I aspire to one day publish an extremely popular novel.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I am from Ghana, West Africa, but I live in Lanham, Maryland.
Who is your favorite leader? I would have to say that my favorite leaders are Shaunakay Stewart and Christina Oyawale. I say this because not only are they strong and active voices of Parkdale’s SGA but they both manage their sports and other extra curricular activities while sustaining an exceptional GPA.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 5 years from now, I see myself as a junior at my preferable university on a full scholarship meanwhile speaking the word of God to young people and putting my blessings to good use in my community.
Jocelyn Nolasco is currently a freshman Government and Politics Major at the University of Maryland College Park. She has served numerous leadership positions to include Class President, Community Liaison, and Vice-President of Lyrikal Storm Arts in Education Organization. An educational advocate and staunch activist, Jocelyn has been at the forefront in the fight for immigration reform and the push for the revamping of Arts in Education Programs on a local, state, and national level as well. Her tenacious leadership in such movements and intiatives has created a following of youth advocates and leaders and a culture of advocacy for those who traditionally have been disenfranchised in the political arena. It has also led to her spearheading and partnering with board members Peggy Higgins and Edward Burroughs in the Parkdale High School Auditorium Capital Improvement Planning Campaign and the Alternative Leadership Initiative. She was a 2014 candidate for the Prince George's Regional Association of Student Governments Candidate and a candidate for the Hyattsville City Council Ward 1 in 2015.
Jocelyn has formed alliances with youth around the county and state in an attempt to educate, organize, and unite youth for she believes that active participation in the political process is instrumental in maintaining an organized and civil society. She believes that Prince George’s County is and will continue to be a thriving nationwide model for equality, justice, and economic advancement as long as every voice is heard.
Define Leader? A leader is a person who understands the needs of their community and advocates not for themselves, but for the needs of the people they represent.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from past experiences as well as seeing what is going on in my area, whether it is local, state, national, or global. The people I want to represent and the people I wish to represent make me who I am today.
What inspired you to be a leader? As I was growing up, I saw many ideas that needed to be strengthened and voices that have been oppressed. I wanted to spearhead the idea that even when things are difficult, people must push for what they believe in. If I can at least know that I changed one person’s life for the good, I am happy.
Why is what you do important? As a growing minority, it is difficult to show a voice when you are constantly told, “Oh, there are not many people like you” or “You do not really look like you can do this.” When I hear, “You can’t” or “I can’t,” I hear the complete opposite. I want to show that you can do what you love no matter what obstacles are in your way. If we do not represent ourselves, we can not function properly as a society. I am the voice you need, the change you deserve.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? I believe the most important tool for a student leader is passion. One can constantly speak about change, but without the drive to start the change, what is the point of being called a student leader? With passion comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes power.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? Do not be afraid of your voice. No one is ever built as a student leader in one night. In order to build up to become known as a leader, I took public speaking classes as well as theater classes to be comfortable on a stage and to be able to better connect with my community.
What is an interesting fact about you? I am not a person that you will often hear that uses quotes. I want people to hear what I am speaking for, not what someone else said. This stems from my Lyrikal Storm advisor molding me to be able to write passionately and bring passion to my poetry. I also have a knack for comic books . I started off with X-Men at a young age and went from there. My favorite superhero is Captain America because of his patriotism and wanting to fight for his country, even though many told him that the odds were against him.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I live in Hyattsville, Maryland, but I am of Salvadorian descent.
Who is your favorite leader? My favorite leader is Malala Yousafzai. For those who may not have of heard of her, her life was almost taken by the Taliban because she was and is still fighting for women to be able to have equal access to education rights as males. She is in my age group and taught me that no matter what age I am or what problems I am facing, problems are no excuse for not giving a voice. I want to be a global figure as she is and be able to improve problems that are facing the world now and in the future.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years, I see myself in my senior year of college. I will be constantly building up to my life goal as a Senator and then as President of the United States or the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Even with school and a career, I will ALWAYS be here for my community. I did not make my community, my community molded me and I would be nowhere without my community.
BIO: Ashanti Martinez is a High School Senior, an International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma Candidate, Member of Young Dems of Maryland, Young Dems of Prince George’s County, and proud Student Advocate at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. At the 2013 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, he was on a Youth Panel discussing the importance of Black Leadership. Because of the lack of LGBTQ leadership in Prince George’s County, he created the LGBTQ Student Liaison for the Prince George’s County Regional Association of Student Governments (PGRASG). His service extents broader than his local community, in 2012 he spent the summer in Panama providing service to the less fortunate. Ashanti is currently nominated for The Prince George’s Harlem Remembrance Foundation L.O.V.E. Award. During his free time, he enjoys the company of friends and family. In Fall 2014, he be will attending Howard University majoring in Political Science.
Define leader? A Leader is someone who is consistently serving other before serving themselves. Dedicating their life advocating for others. That’s a leader Where do you draw your inspiration from? My inspiration comes from the people all around me. Talking to students, learning about their stories and what they overcome on a daily basis inspires me. Listening to their concerns and issues is what inspires me. Understanding that my generation is the future of this Nation is what inspires me every day to make a difference.
What inspired you to be a leader? Since I was a kid, I’ve always exhibited leadership qualities. Just knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of others keeps me going and makes me thrive to do more.
Why is what you do important? I feel like I am the voice of the people. Being a Leader is a major responsibility and I take it all with pride.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? Leaning how to simply listen has been the most important tool through my years in student leadership. Having the ability to verbally communicate is wonderful, but if you can’t listen to the concerns and problems brought to you by the people you serve then you can’t effectively lead. Listening is a key piece in communication that many people forgot about.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? Don’t be afraid to fail. Often times our leaders are consumed with getting everything right. Reality is that your human and make mistakes. Failure is a part of life, the more you run from it the more you’ll encounter it. Embrace being human and understand that being a Leader doesn’t make you any better than the ‘next guy’.
What is an interesting fact about you? By looking at me you wouldn’t be able to detect my Hispanic background. Through my biological father, I’m Puerto Rican. Though I don’t embrace my heritage as much as I should, it’s still very important to me. Family is #1 in my book.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I am a proud Marylander living in New Carrollton, MD. New Carrollton is a quiet suburban city, but close enough to DC where it isn’t a hassle getting there.
Who is your favorite leader? This might sound cheesy but my favorite leader is my Mom. Her ability to run a household, work a full-time job, cook dinner, keep fit, and stay sane inspires me. I appreciate the sacrifices her and my Dad have made for me. Being a devoted parent is the greatest leadership role anyone can take on.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years I see myself having graduated from college and now on my way to law school or maybe running for public office. We’ll have to see where these next four years at college take me.