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CHCI congratulates the 2014 R2L NextGen participants. In partnership with the Close Up Foundation and founding sponsor State Farm®, as well as Southwest Airlines, the official airline of CHCI Leadership Programs, and Macy’s, the official R2L NextGen wardrobe sponsor, CHCI brought these students to D.C. July 27- August 1, 2014 to learn about how the Federal Government works, the importance of being civically engaged, and how they can affect positive change in their communities. To learn more about their experience, visit:

Each one of these high school students had a unique experience. Read the lasting impressions each one had from this life-changing week.

Biographies and Profiles

Silvana Altez
Lincoln Park High School
Chicago, Illinois

“My participation in R2L NextGen affected my decision to further my education because it helped me seek more information on majors I want to consider. I want to help out the Hispanic community because we have a voice and it must be heard!”

Abraham Andrade
St. Pius X St. Matthias Academy
Paramount, California

“Participating in R2L NextGen helped me learn more about how the federal government works and exposed me to key issues facing the Latino community.”

Marilyn Antonetti
Franklin Police and Fire High School
Phoenix, Arizona

“R2L NextGen has helped me understand that I represent the Latino community and it is critical that I futher my education.”

Hugo Bernal
Sierra Linda High School
Laveen, Arizona

“R2L NextGen was significant to me because it helped me understand that the issues that the Latino community faces in Arizona are similar to the issues in other parts of the United States. As a result of this program, in college, I want to minor in political science and pursue an internship on Capitol Hill with CHCI.”

Juan Cabral
Canyon Springs High School
Las Vegas, Nevada

“Participating in the R2L NextGen program allowed me to meet many successful Latinos from various backgrounds. These interactions helped me believe in myself and increase my pride in my culture as a Mexican-American.”

Francisco Campos
El Capitan High School
Merced, California

“Participating in R2L NextGen has motivated me to learn more about politics and consider studying political science in college. I now believe it is my responsibility to be involved in the political process and further my education.”

Judith Carrillo
Segerstrom Fundamental High School
Santa Ana, California

“During the R2L NextGen program I met amazing people with incredible stories including mentors, peers, college students, and professionals. They all encouraged me to keep working hard and advocating for issues that are important to me.”

Michael Castaneda
Edcouch-Elsa High School
Elsa, Texas

“The activities, workshops and panels during the R2L NextGen program helped me realize that the Latino community can make a difference. I feel empowered and look forward to making a difference in my community.”

Celina Chavez
Edison High School
Fresno, California

“R2L NextGen has motivated me to attend a prestigious university and has made me even more comfortable with the idea of being politically active. I want to make a difference!”

Jasmine Chavez
J.E.B. Stuart High School
Falls Church, Virginia

“R2L NextGen is the best civic engagement program/experience of my life. I have never been to a place so welcoming and happy. I’m so thankful and blessed to have attended this program because it taught me so much and I made such amazing friends.”

Emily Felix
La Villa Early College High School
La Villa, Texas

“My participation in the R2L NextGen program has greatly influenced my world by helping me understand national issues that affect the Latino community. Now as a result, I will share what I learned about the political process with my peers.”

Jaime Gonzalez
Curie Metropolitan High School
Chicago, Illinois

“R2L NextGen gave me the confidence and reassurance that my voice really does matter and it has the power to make a difference! I’m excited to go back and help out my community and share what I’ve learned with others!”

Raven Gonzalez
Donna North High School
Donna, Texas

“I left the R2L NextGen program empowered and inspired by my peers and the many speakers who shared their personal stories, including my members of congress. They encouraged me to use my voice to be the change that I want to see in the world.”

Felix Hernandez
Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
New York, New York

“R2L NextGen has given me the motivation to inspire others. I want to better myself and uplift my community. This program has helped me develop an interest in politics by meeting members of congress and learning about their path to success.”

Alicia Higley
Marcos de Niza High School
Tempe, Arizona

“R2L NextGen was an incredible experience! Visiting Washington, D.C. and exploring the city by visiting and learning at the monuments, museums, and the Capitol was so exciting!”

Julliana Macias
Marcos de Niza High School
Guadalupe, Arizona

“As part of the next generation of Latino leaders, I now know that I am responsible for giving it my all. R2L NextGen inspired me to take my leadership role at school to the next level. I aspire to come back to Washington, D.C. and intern for my member of congress in the future.”

Erick Macias-Chavez
Del Mar High School
San Jose, California

“I am returning home to San Jose more motivated and interested in pursuing a leadership role at my high school. It is my responsibility to help others and raise up my community by pursuing an education beyond high school.”

Ivette Marquez
Edison High School
Fresno, California

“The [R2L NextGen] program was an experience like no other. I was able to gain so much knowledge and create lifelong friendships. This program confirmed my plans to further my education.”

Miguel Martinez
MetEast High School
Camden, New Jersey

“[R2L NextGen] has inspired me to go further because I know I have a voice, and I know people just like me have worked hard and have done amazing things.”

Anthony Medina
Jack E. Singley Academy
Irving, Texas

“During the program I met students from across the country that have similar stories and aspire to make a difference. I walked away from the program knowing that I have a network, a familia, who I can turn to as I continue my high school and future college journey.”

Yaquelin Meza Martinez
Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy
Las Vegas, Nevada

“The [R2L NextGen] program was a life-changing experience. All of the people I met made my summer the best in just a couple of days. I had never gotten so close to people so fast or had the guts to share my story. They were so supportive and kind. We came together to learn how to make a difference in the world.”

Danielm Monreal
South Mountain High School
Phoenix, Arizona

“I learned so much about domestic issues during my participation in the R2L NextGen program, including education, minimum wage and health care. I plan to return to my community and be an active member of my school and share my experience with my peers.”

Cesar Nuñez
Aviation High School
East Elmhurst, New York

“I feel like I am an example for the next generation and I want to correct the injustices that are occurring in this world now. R2L NextGen gave me the inspiration to make a change in this world.”

Marcos Olivas
Susan Miller Dorsey High School
Los Angeles, California

“[R2L NextGen] has affected my decision to be more civically engaged. Now I see that I can make a difference by being involved politically.”

Alma Padilla
James Lick High School
San Jose, California

“This experience has been amazing! R2L NextGen introduced me to Latino and non-Latino professionals who encouraged local and national civic participation. Upon my return to my community, I plan to use my voice to advocate for key issues and encourage others to do the same.”

Leslie Perez
Uplift Summit International Preparatory
Arlington, Texas

“R2L NextGen helped me believe that anything I dream is possible – the sky is the limit.”

Sandra Puetate Armas
Watkins Mill High School
Montgomery Village, Maryland

“R2L NextGen has been a once in a life-time experience, and I truly wish to make as much of a differnce in the Latino community through participation in the political process.”

Sandra Puetate Armas
Watkins Mill High School
Montgomery Village, Maryland

“R2L NextGen has been a once in a life-time experience, and I truly wish to make as much of a differnce in the Latino community through participation in the political process.”

Hillary Rivero
New Heights Academy Charter School
New York, New York

“R2L NextGen exposed me to Latino leaders from all over the U.S. The thing I value the most about my CHCI experience is the close friendships I made with my peers, who are now my familia.”

Kiara Rodriguez
Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists
Bronx, New York

“Participating in R2L NextGen has motivated and inspired me to another level. It has pushed me to want and know more for myself.”

Miguel Rodriguez
Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
Los Angeles, California

“During the R2L NextGen program I met so many public servants, including my Representative, Tony Cardenas. In the future I hope to intern in his office.”

Alexandro Saenz
Donna North High School
Donna, Texas

“The biggest takeaway from my participation in R2L NextGen, no matter what, never give up.”

Joel Santana
Camden High School
Camden, New Jersey

“I am 100% grateful for the CHCI R2L NextGen program. After this experience I know that I am going to go to college and I am going to serve my community. I have aspirations of becoming Governor of New Jersey and improving the living conditions of all of my brothers and sisters, especially in the city of Camden, New Jersey.”

Zachary Shaath 
Edison High School
Fresno, California

“Because of this program I am more curious and more motivated to speak out and make a change in my community. I plan to become more involved not only in my school and programs within my school, but also in my community. Meeting so many people through CHCI has given me more connections, and allowed me to expand my network in order to make change.”

Kianna Silva
Veterans Memorial High School
Brownsville, Texas

“After R2L NextGen I see a politics with a new eye. It’s much much more than being elected to office, being involved politically means that you care about your community and have an interest in helping others.”

Carolina Sosa
Westfield High School
Centreville, Virginia

“I walked away from the R2L NextGen program feeling more motivated that I have potential. Hearing from Latino leaders [during workshops] that have faced challenges and have persevered was so inspiring!”

Micaela Stanley
Buhach Colony High School
Merced, California

“The R2L NextGen program was life changing in more ways than one. Meeting so many role models and interacting with peers who also face similar challenges in their communities has helped me believe that I will be successful because if others can do it, so can I.”

Karla Velasco
Prosser Career Academy
Chicago, Illinois

“CHCI’s R2L NextGen program empowered me to dream big! This week inspired me to reach beyond an undergraduate degree and instead reach for a Ph.D.”

Esaiah Villalobos
Le Grand High School
Le Grand, California

“R2L NextGen opened my eyes to the possibilities available. I am eager to return home and continue to seek additional leadership roles so that my community can reap the benefits of my program participation.”

Nancy Zavala
John Glenn High School
Norwalk, California

“R2L NextGen has helped me increase my pride in my Latino heritage because it showed me examples of Latinos who have fought for opportunities to improve their community. I now have political aspirations and hope to be more civically engaged.”

More R2L NextGen Participants

2013 R2L NextGen Participants