‘What did you do this summer?” is a question many students often hear after heading back to school.

For George Junior High soon-to-be eighth-grader Kayla Garcia, bat watching on the Lone Star Riverboat, touring the Natural Bridge Caverns and learning about future career and internship opportunities, are all answers she can give about her unforgettable summer.

Kayla was selected to participate in the 2018 Lone Star Leadership Academy camp this past week based on her outstanding academic success, demonstration of leadership ability, involvement in school and community activities, as well as a nomination from science teacher Ashleigh Krevosky, according to the academy.

Kayla’s Texas state representative and senator were also notified of her accomplishment.

“I was very honored when I found out I was nominated for LSLA and looked forward to attending and all of the new memories,” Kayla expressed.

She was excited “to explore and be exposed to learning new things and meeting other students who share similar values and goals.”

Along with a team of other high-achieving students selected from across the state, Kayla had the opportunity to travel to Austin and San Antonio and visit significant sites such as the Austin Panic Room, LBJ Library and Museum, and the Alamo, while learning about Texas and its leaders.

The students also visited the Texas State Cemetery, state legislators’ offices at the state capitol, the Supreme Court of Texas, the Witte Museum, the Battle for Texas: The Experience, and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

“I had a really great experience at leadership camp this past week,” Kayla reflected. “I most enjoyed meeting so many new students who share an interest in bettering the community.

“I learned lots of new facts about Texas history and the historical sites we visited. I met (state) Sen. [Joan] Huffman’s interns and employees and learned about their tasks and how they help her during sessions.”

When asked how she demonstrates being a good leader at school, Kayla said she feels her social skills and ability to get along with everybody makes her an effective leader.

“At school, I try to put myself out there, make new friends, and talk to others,” she said.

“In order to demonstrate leadership, I recommend other students respectfully give their opinions, communicate well, and stand up for what’s right.”

While Kayla’s favorite subjects are reading and science, she noted she’s also interested in history and was happy to receive a more in-depth Texas history lesson during her trip.

Outside of studying hard and exhibiting good leadership, Kayla’s often busy being cheer co-captain at George Junior High, volunteering with her church youth group at St. John Fisher (“One of my favorite activities is the youth kitchen where we help cook breakfast one Sunday a month for the church parishioners”), dancing, crafting, spending time with friends and family or watching Netflix.

Kayla is the middle daughter between older brother Luis, a sophomore at Terry High School, and 2-year-old baby sister, Brielle.

The Garcia family also has a loyal, lab-mixed dog named Astro. Her favorite TV shows are “Stranger Things” and “Atypical.”

Education in Action, a nonprofit organization, hosts Lone Star Leadership Academy camps to empower young people to be informed and be active leaders in their communities.

Outstanding Texas students are invited to participate in Lone Star Leadership Academy camps in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio, and Houston/Galveston. Participants must be in fourth-eighth grade, maintain an 85 or higher average, demonstrate leadership ability, be involved in community or school activities, and receive an educator recommendation.

Educators are invited to nominate their students for Lone Star Leadership Academy camps online at www.educationnation.org/nominate. For more information, call 817-562-4957 or visit www.educationnation.org or www.facebook.com/educationnation.

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