(Above picture) Hani Al Jabi López, Nyasia Soto, Mayra Casado, Jorge Meléndez, Fernando Morales, Jesús Casado, Troy Smith-Petrella, and Yolyenid Aldea Luis Castro, Grace Matta, Kevin Lagares and Ted Morton
March 14, 2014, 8:30 AM, at the Erie County legislature and Common Council chambers in Buffalo, a group of students from Buffalo and Dunkirk high schools conducted a mock assembly in preparation for their participation in the Somos El Futuro Conference. The exercise is part of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PR/HYLI), a program named in honor of the late NYS Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro.
Mayor Byron Brown presented the students with a proclamation exalting the 24 years of participation of students from the Buffalo Public Schools as well as those from Dunkirk, Jamestown, and other Buffalo suburbs. Superintendent Pamela Brown expressed her sense of pride for the 24 years of participation by the Buffalo Public Schools’ students and issued some very inspirational words of exhortation for the students to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them during the entire experience.
Every year, about 200 students from 8 delegations statewide take part in key activities which include team-building exercises to develop inter-regional relationships and a Mock Assembly session in the NYS Assembly chamber. The Mock Assembly is followed by a student recognition dinner where winners of the PR/HYLI scholarships and other awards are announced and career development workshops.
The Institute, a product of the vision and energy of Assemblyman Del Toro, is a collaborative effort among the New York State Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force, the New York State Education Department, Questar III BOCES, Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, Somos El Futuro, Inc., and The New York City Department of Education.
The activity was sponsored by Buffalo Councilman David A. Rivera, Mayor Byron Brown, Legislator Ted Morton and The NYS Assembly.