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    I am so pleased to be able to welcome all of you to our third International Youth Leadership Conference. For those of you who are new to the IYLC, our hope is that you will see the value in sharing your languages and cultures, how we at PPS recognize the individual talents that each of you possess, and how we truly believe in your potential as leaders at your schools. And for our conference veterans, we hope that you will feel comfortable to freely share your voice and help all of us learn from your experiences both in and out of school.

    At the end of the day, this conference is about YOU!

    As you are engaged in workshops and talking with presenters, take the opportunity to tell us who you are. Share with us your hopes. Help us understand the challenges that you face. And be sure to let us know about your achievements and accomplishments. In many of our cultures, we are often raised not to speak about ourselves, or be seen as bragging or complaining. However, we are also raised to support and stand up for our families, and to take pride in our shared culture and community.

    Even though we all may come from different cultures and speak different languages, we share the common experience of facing challenges as newcomers to our schools, we share the frustrations and joys of mastering a new language, and we are a community determined to do the hard work that it takes to succeed at school and beyond. We have every reason to be proud of our history and community in ESL. This is the truth that we want you to take from this day. Share this truth with each other, and take it back to your communities at home, and especially to your schools.

    We hope that you will enjoy this special day.

IYLC 2015