A first-ever airplane ride for Sierra Nevada Job Corps student John Lopez turned out to be the trip of a lifetime when he flew to Washington D.C. for Management Training Corporation’s 13th annual Student Leadership conference. Lopez, a student government officer studying Office Administration at SNJCC, had the unique opportunity to visit all of the Nevada congressional offices.
“Try to name another 19 year-old from Hawthorne, Nevada who got to meet privately with four Nevada Congressmen in one afternoon,” he proudly noted.
During the week-long conference, Lopez was able to share information with 100 other National Student Ambassadors representing Job Corps centers all over the United States, with the goal of empowering themselves to make a social impact on their communities. And, in his spare time, he managed to visit most of the popular Washington landmarks
Lopez was also one of the 700 Job Corps attendees rubbing elbows in Mellon Auditorium with members of Congress and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who gave a keynote address celebrating the 50th anniversary of Job Corps and extolling the organization’s many achievements, most importantly educating and training two million students during its existence.
SNJCC Center Director Rocky Flanary said this of John: “Mr. Lopez did an incredible job handling himself around some pretty important Nevada leaders. He learned a lot at the conference, and I am positive he will share what he learned in Washington with his fellow Sierra Nevada students.”
Only a year before, Lopez had dropped out of high school and was working at the Hawthorne McDonalds to help out his mother, an employee at the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot. He heard from his sister (who is now attending college through Job Corps) about all the opportunities the vocational institute based in Stead, Nevada had to offer. Now, he’s close to finishing his vocation, is only a few credits away from earning his high school diploma, and has gotten his driver’s license.