Instructors to propose ‘Lead University’ plan to develop a community service project

HARLINGEN — What is it? What’s the project? What will they be doing?

We may soon learn about the project two teachers have planned for a select group of eighth graders.

Ashley Perez and Bianca Rodriguez, instructors at the Harlingen School for Health Professions, spent the summer developing their plan for “Lead University.”

They’re about to submit that plan to Harlingen Area Education Foundation, which awarded them a $1,500 grant earlier this year.

“We’ve submitted the original plan, we’re just solidifying the framework,” said Perez, who teaches eighth grade algebra.

“It’s just fine tuning,” she added.

Lead University, when everything has been finalized, will accept about 30 students to meet one Saturday each month. They’ll develop a community service project, something tangible to improve people’s lives.

In the process of completing this project, they’ll hear speakers talk to them about various aspects of leadership such as interpersonal skills and writing resumes.

Perez pointed out the importance of interviewing skills, which the students will also learn at Lead University.

“They’ll learn what to do in the interview, what questions they’ll be asked,” she said.

This actually ties in with the application students will fill out to get into Lead University.

“They’ll need to go through the application,” said Rodriguez, who teaches English.

“We’ll ask for basic short answers,” she said.

As far as what kind of student they’re looking for, they didn’t have a specific definition.

“I think it’s open to any student,” Perez said.

The framework they’re submitting to HAEF includes a list of speakers and the dates they’d talk to the students. They haven’t actually talked to them yet about speaking to the students.

“We’ve identified some people we would like to come,” Rodriguez said. “However, maybe they have other suggestions.”

Once the plan is submitted, HAEF will review it and perhaps make some suggestions. From there, the plan will move between HAEF and the two instructors as they finalize details.

They aren’t sure yet when “Lead University” will open, but they indicated it would be soon.

“It’s looking really good,” Rodriguez said.