News Column

LeadAmerica Moves Texas Student Jacob Sanchez Forward

Feb 5, 2013

Travis M. Whitehead

Jacob Sanchez participated in Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit.
Jacob Sanchez

Jacob Sanchez is riding an all-time high right now, after seeing President Barack Obama's inauguration.

"Oh my God, it was amazing," Sanchez, 17, a senior at Harlingen High School, said.

"We weren't able to see it really close up, but we were in a good spot where we could see practically everything," he said. "It took my breath away seeing history being made in front of my eyes. It gave me chills up my spine."

Sanchez's presence at the inauguration was part of his attendance at the LeadAmerica Presidential Inaugural Leadership Summit. He was selected because of his SAT scores and his answers on a survey from LeadAmerica.

The LeadAmerica website says the program gives high school and middle school students with good grades the chance to learn about real college life and help them decide what they want for their future. Every four years, the organization holds the presidential summit that Sanchez attended.

The trip also included visits to some of Washington, D.C.'s most famous monuments and a speech by Colin Powell. He also went to several seminars.

In his speech, Powell, the retired general and former secretary of state, encouraged Sanchez and the other participants to pursue their goals.

"He talked about how, no matter where you're from, what kind of community you're in, always to stay in school and to achieve everything you want to do, because anything you can do in this country, it's possible," he said. "You have to keep on trying and don't stop, because once you stop you'll never finish."

The summit included visits to the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorial, among others. He said he most enjoyed the visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

"I always thought ever since I was little about President Lincoln and the good things that he accomplished and what he tried to do," Sanchez said. "That always inspired me. So just to be able to see the monument of him and see it in front of my eyes was just amazing."

One of the seminars he attended focused on how to be a spy. The presenters were David Major, retired senior supervisory special agent, and Gen. Oleg Kalugin, a former agent and spy for the Soviet Union's security agency.

"In that workshop they explained what it takes to be a spy," he said. "They explained basically what you would need to do to become a spy and what other requirements would be from college and all that. It was pretty interesting."

Sanchez said he plans to become a radiologist. He became interested in the field when he broke some bones. He was fascinated by the way doctors used various imaging machines, to view the bones and determine how to treat his injuries. He feels attending the summit will help him pursue his goals.

"It showed us no matter what you do, what you want to become, you need to go to college," he said. "Because without college you can get places, but not places you'd like to go, and not what you want to achieve."

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)

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