Esperanza was proud to partner with The Youth Work Foundation to support this year’s 71st Annual Citizen Day at The Union League of Philadelphia where two Esperanza Academy Charter High School students, previously nominated by their teachers, participated along nearly 298 exceptional high school juniors from the Greater Philadelphia region on May 10.
“This is only the second consecutive year we have participated and are looking at many more of our deserving Esperanza Academy Youth to participate,” Founder, President and CEO of Esperanza and Union League member Rev. Luis Cortés said.
The Good Citizen Day program featured a morning of presentations and workshops focused on the aspects of good citizenship. The issues varied from whether presidential elections should be decided by Electoral College or popular vote to the constitutionality of “stop and frisk” policies.
“I think the idea of what a good citizen is and what they can do for their nation is not that commonly known, at least I did not know about it at all,” Esperanza Academy student and Good Citizen Day candidate Nick Roman said. “That is why I think that this mission they are doing is extremely important and needed.”
This year’s afternoon program was introduced by former Representative of Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Fitzpatrick and The Foundations of The Union League of Philadelphia Executive Director, John Meko. It included special, off-site programs at Philadelphia’s City Hall where students got an opportunity to explore the different branches of government and their respective roles and responsibilities.
“It gave them an opportunity to learn about the constitution and what it means to be a good citizen,” Esperanza Academy Social Studies Teacher Eden Strunk said.
In 1946, the Union League established the Youth Work Committee to demonstrate its motto, “Love of Country Leads,” and to motivate high school juniors to set high personal standards of behavior and leadership as they mature into responsible citizens.
Referring to The Union League’s mission, Strunk said: “It is a great way to impact the lives of our youth and show them how they can become active participants in our government. They help to cultivate strong leaders, build networking skills, and set up mentorships.”
The highlight of the day for many was the Award Banquet, which was attended by many Union League members and special guests.