TOPEKA – More than 200 Kansas high school students, representing 68 Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) programs, recently competed in a two-day Leadership Development Conference at the Kansas National Guard Training Center, in Salina, to determine who would represent Kansas at the national competition, in Washington, D.C.
The 18 JAG-K students who qualified for the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) National Student Leadership Academy will compete in the categories of Employability Skills, Math Skills, Project-based Learning and Public Speaking. Three JAG-K Career Association state officers were also elected and will accompany the group.
In November, they will travel to Washington, D.C. for competition, various leadership workshops and sightseeing in the nation’s capital. All expenses are paid by JAG-K, which receives most of its funding through a grant from the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF).
“I have had the privilege of observing several JAG-K programs throughout the state,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “I am thrilled to see the agency’s investment in this poverty-prevention program helping countless youth achieve a better life for themselves.”
The following JAG-K students qualified for the national competition in Washington, D.C.
Washington High School-Amiel Green, Tajanea Polk, Ja’Tai Matthews and Tyron Harris
Junction City Freshman Success-Destiny Wilson, Sierra Garner
Augusta High School-Brandon Bond, Brittney Cairns
Great Bend High School-Cierra Wood
Pratt High School-Meredith Queal, Allen Roberts
Field Kindley High School-Tyrese DeLaCruz
Newton High School-Linda Moyo
Turner High School-Josie DeCoster
Topeka High School-Jason Mitchiner Jr.
Wichita West High School-Jamie Aguirre
Wichita North High School-Whitney Mayberry
Lawrence Free State High School-Gabriel Smith
JAG-K is a multi-year program for students in grades seven through 12, that offers tools to successfully transition students into postsecondary school, the military or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success. Kansas adopted the program in 2013, at the request of Governor Sam Brownback. JAG-K is one of the most successful JAG startups in the country. In 2016, JAG-K students reached a 93 percent graduation rate, thanks to the supports and services offered by JAG-K Career specialists. The JAG-K Class of 2017 already has achieved a 97 percent graduation rate.
JAG-K is primarily funded through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars, through DCF. Funds are available through an annual federal block grant.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and an affiliate of the national JAG program that operates in 32 states. In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas State Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include the Aetna Foundation, Amerigroup Foundation, AT&T, and John Deere Coffeyville Works.
For more information about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org.