Emily Franco is a student at Henderson High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania. When her Spanish teacher, Marion Jackson, gained approval from her administration to lead a trip to Costa Rica with ACIS, her first move was to deputize Emily as her ACIS Student Ambassador. As Student Ambassador, Emily would be responsible for co-organizing meetings and activities related to fund-raising and recruitment for the trip. Maestra Jackson picked Emily to be her Student Ambassador because of her budding leadership skills, and Emily proved she made the right choice. She ran with the challenge and took her role very seriously, gaining loads of valuable experience in the process. She also was lucky enough to win the Student Ambassador Free Trip Raffle, which means ACIS is covering the cost of her entire trip!
We interviewed Emily about her experience as Student Ambassador, her upcoming trip, and her aspirations for her academic and professional career:
1. Which part of your trip to Costa Rica are you looking forward to the most?
I think that I am looking forward to the Homestay with the Costa Rican Family the most. The Spanish language truly fascinates me, and the chance to be completely surrounded and engulfed by all of this culture is something that I could not pass up. While 45 minutes a day of Spanish for a total of 4 years is an abundance, the total immersion in the language just kicks what you have learned into high gear. It will be really interesting to see how well 4 years of Spanish taught by all of my wonderful teachers will pay off.
2. How did Señora Jackson describe the job of student ambassador to you when she asked you to take on the responsibility?
When Señora described this job to me, it first off sounded like a lot of fun. I love leading things, I love being in charge, and I love to stay organized. She told me that I would be in charge of meetings, keeping people excited about the trip, and helping raise some money to fund the trip. It was such an honor for her to choose me as this position in the trip. I was so excited to make her happy, and everyone else interested in the trip happy and as excited as I am to go on this trip!!
3. Were you intimidated at all about the amount of work it would entail?
To an extent, yes I was! Leading this trip is a lot of work. The organization for everything is so detail oriented. Just for our fundraisers alone, I have to think about every single thing that could potentially happen, and think about how to react to it. Who needs to go where, what each person has to do, etc. As this school year has progressed, and we have had more and more meetings, I think I have settled into the job, and I fully understand what the title of “Student Ambassador” entails. But, luckily I have 12 awesome peers that help me out if I ever need a hand.
4. What were your main goals and responsibilities as Student Ambassador?
I have 3!
1. Stay organized
2. Keep everyone excited and wanting to participate in group activities
3. Be a caring, selfless leader who listens and can always lend a hand. I.E. approachable
5. How did you go about doing your job? Did you lean on any specific tools or resources to help you?
The way I went about doing this was in a very organized fashion. If I hadn’t been organized from the beginning I don’t think we’d have gotten as far as we have with fundraisers and other things. Some of the tactics I used to get information out there were things like the morning announcements, Remind messaging, and Google Drive.
I am a part of the Morning News Crew that is televised throughout the school. Because of that, I am able to add announcements directly to the news feed to get the message out to the school about upcoming fundraisers, and my crew about meetings.
Once we found our core group of people that were certainly going on this trip, I set up a “Remind” Group. It is kind of the same premise as twitter, but for schools! I am able send reminder texts about meetings, or send sign-up reminder texts for a fundraiser. It’s quick, easy, and simple!
Finally, using Google drive for signups has been very easy and super organized. With Google Drive, you can create a document and share it with as many people as you wish. The way that I work it is I create a Google Sheets document, format it so that everyone can easily sign up wherever it best fits them, and I have it right on my phone for easy reference!
6. How has the experience of working as a Student Ambassador helped you in school and in your development as a student leader?
I think that this experience has aided my sophomore year significantly. My organization skills are at an all-time high, and I am able to use different means of organization now in school that I had only been using for organization of the trip!
Some examples would include Google Drive: Slides, Sheets, and Docs. Whenever I am doing a group project, it is always easiest and most reliable to do it through Google. How else has this helped me? Public speaking! Last year, public speaking was a nightmare, it was always such a nerve-wracking task. Thanks to all of the opportunities I have with running the meetings and fundraisers, my public speaking ability has increased tenfold. My performance presenting in class has increased, and also, my performance on the TV announcements has increased drastically. Leadership is a quality that we need throughout our entire lives; I feel so lucky that I get to have lots of practice early so I can be even more of a successful leader later in life.
7. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience or your excitement about your upcoming trip?
Yes! I would like to study abroad when I get to college; this is a great precursor for that.
Also, I cannot wait to try all the food! I love food and am looking forward to the cooking class we get to experience! If I’m being completely honest: the moment I read the brochure, I knew I had to go! Everything seemed so fun, interesting and engaging. I can’t wait to get closer to the people of Costa Rica, all of my friends going on the trip, and even myself as well!
I cannot thank you, Marc, Ariana, and ACIS enough for all of the wonderful opportunities you have given me!
If you’d like to apply to be an ACIS Student Ambassador or nominate one of your students to do so, check out the Student Ambassador page on our website to learn more!
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