The Wickenburg High School Cafeteria was full of JAG students from the junior and senior classes and their families, and for Ruby Landeros, this was a pleasant surprise as they stood up at the podium nervous but eager to give a speech they had written for this long-awaited moment.
Originally planned for September, the Initiation and Installation event didn’t fully come to fruition until March due to unforeseen cancellations. Despite these challenges, the students learned to think like a team and support each other in planning a memorable event.
While the ceremony is typically at the start of the school year, the students made their ceremony on March 28th an opportunity of reflection and celebration for how far they had come this year. In addition to their oaths and speeches, they chose candle lighting for their installation part of the ceremony. Initiation & Installation ceremonies include the option of “Blending of the Gems” or candle lighting for installation of the new JAG class, and both ceremonies are meant to symbolize the students' unity to help each other obtain their goals.
“My favorite part of the ceremony was seeing the people like Ruby, for instance, going up there and being able to do this amazing speech that she made – just go up there and rock it and be able to speak in front of all these people,” said Javen Coppedge, Vice President of Wickenburg JAG and Youth Opportunity Ambassador. “I just loved how everyone was all dressed up and we finally did something all together, and it worked out perfectly.”
Landeros, one of the juniors in the Wickenburg JAG class shared their experience speaking at the event, “I was really nervous because I have anxiety with speaking in front of that many people, especially that long of a speech. But I got through it and overall, in the end it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.”
Throughout the school year, JAG students are provided the space to be themselves and grow personally and professionally through trauma-informed care, project-based learning, events, and mentorship from their coordinator and our Employer Partner guest speakers.
“[My favorite parts of JAG] would be the learning experiences – like the thing we just did yesterday,” said Coppedge, while reflecting on their time in JAG and the Interviewing Skills Competition held on March 30th. “We went around Phoenix yesterday and got interviewed. We got to learn how to do an interview properly! I think a lot of the things we have done taught me to do stuff that I wouldn’t have known how to do.”
“…It teaches you multiple things about life, not just school. It changed me a lot,” Landeros commented on their JAG experience. “It brings out a lot of talents that some people did not know they had, like speaking in front of people or doing a speech.”
As the students close out the year and look forward to the upcoming school year, they hope to see more students join their JAG program and even more opportunities to continue exploring their skills and interests. Landeros plans on exploring a career path as a nurse and mechanic, and eventually running their own company as a mechanic in the future. Coppedge is also looking forward to exploring a path of starting their own business after attending an esthetician/beauty program in the future.
For more of our JAG students’ stories, see the latest stories in our Insider News Blog.
Interested in reading more about Initiation & Installation ceremonies that other JAG programs hosted?
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