West Marin School seventh-graders chosen for future leaders training

06/07/2018

Erin Montoya wanted a handful of students at West Marin School, where she teaches Spanish, to know that she recognized their efforts to be leaders among their classmates. She nominated a small group of seventh-graders to represent the school and the West Marin community in Washington, D.C. this summer at the Junior National Young Leaders Conference. To Ms. Montoya’s surprise, she said, five of those students jumped at the opportunity to travel to the nation’s capital and launched a fundraising effort to make the trip happen. “Every one of these students stood out to me because they are just solid individuals,” Ms. Montoya said. “They’re caring, and they always make an effort to be inclusive and create a positive environment for everybody. That’s why I nominated them. But I never dreamed it would actually happen.” Ms. Montoya has nominated other students for the conference during her seven-year tenure at the school, but none have so far seized the opportunity, she said. And, she added, “It’s a testament to the strength of our school community that people are stepping up to help make this happen for these kids.” Angel Amador, Anastasia Bonini, Brinlee Stevens, Viviana Villalobos and Eli Rocco-Zilber hope to collectively raise $15,000 to cover the cost of their six-day trip to D.C. next month. At the conference, the students said in a newsletter to the community, “we will join other motivated students from around the country for an experiential leadership training program. This will be a powerful experience, enabling us to interact with respected mentors in various fields while building relationships with students from all around the country who will be our future colleagues.” Mr. Rocco-Zilber, who is president of West Marin School’s student council, said the fundraiser is on track to be a success. “We’re definitely getting there,” he said. “It’s moving along.” The students will host a family movie night on June 15 at the Dance Palace. Admission to the event is free, but money raised from food and donations will go directly to the students’ trips, which will cost about $3,000 each. To donate to their campaign, visit gofundme.com and search for West Marin Future Leaders.