While some students don’t often hear about JAG until they’re in middle school or high school, Erick Osorio Canizalez had a bit of an advantage. Both of his older siblings were participants in Paradise Valley High School’s own JAG program and had received great benefit from it. Encouraged by his mother to join, and after watching his siblings successfully navigate the program, Erick decided to commit to the program and signed up for the class. Now, in his senior year at Paradise Valley High School, he is the President of his JAG Career Association and a member of the University of Phoenix LEADS.
“I’d say the most encouraging factor would be my family, both my brother and my sister, who both took the [JAG] class before I did,” Erick said. “As well as my mom who encouraged me to do it, she saw just how much it helped them and how it could help me.”
By his own account, Erick has received plenty of support in the program. He attributes his success to his coordinator, Holly Gorman, who also supported both his brother and sister through JAG. He credits her support in being ready for college as well as pushing him and other students to do their best academically.
“My coordinator keeps track of my grades. In fact, she keeps track of everybody in my classes. So whenever she notices that one of us is falling behind, she usually has us do two or three days of catching up on homework or any missed assignments in order for us to get our grades back up so that we can have better GPAs,” Erick said.
Through JAG, students receive College and Career Readiness assistance such as; support in applying for colleges, technical schools, financial aid application, scholarships and more. Erick says Ms. Gorman assisted in preparing his application to ASU where he plans to attend this fall.
JAG hosts Leadership Academy events throughout the year to support participants in developing their skills in; employability, professionalism, and leadership. As a member of the state’s student leadership team, Erick recently helped to prepare for one of these events called; ‘Faces of JAG’ Legislative Day. The event was held at the Arizona State Capital on Monday, March 7th, and had over 100 students and legislators in attendance. As a LEAD, Erick played a key role in ensuring the event was successful for the students, guest speakers and legislators in attendance.
The Legislative Day event is a day of awareness that allows JAG students the opportunity to meet with their district legislators and share with them about the value in supporting programs like JAG. This event was designed to open dialogue between students and lawmakers and to learn how they can become more involved in issues impacting Arizona. Students from JAG programs throughout Arizona traveled to the capital to have lunch with their legislator, experience a mock House session, tour the capitol museum and share the impact that JAG has had on their lives and future.
Before the event, the LEADS are responsible for choosing which part of the day's program they will present and spent time in Zoom meetings memorizing their part of the script. This is an additional opportunity for the student leaders to further their public speaking skills in front of a large audience. Erick said he was excited to use his public speaking skills at Legislative Day as he had the opportunity to thank Representative Diego Espinoza for his remarks and introduce the morning's keynote, Tomorrow We Vote.
When asked about his future plans, Erick says he feels the pressure to keep up with his academics in college, and sometimes feels nervous about tackling it, but he trusts that he’ll be able to rely on his JAG family and Ms. Gorman when he needs support.
The JAG program is full of future leaders like Erick and dedicated coordinators like Holly Gorman! Your financial support helps students like Erick in JAG programs throughout Arizona. Donate Today.
Interested in getting involved? Volunteers are important to us, and help to provide experiences, knowledge and the connections students need to be successful after graduation. Sign up to attend our New Volunteer Orientation by visiting our Volunteer Page.