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Famous Playwright and Presidential Advisor: Esperanza Students Hear from Notable Speakers

Esperanza Academy Charter High School students had the privilege of meeting with two distinguished guests in October, Quiara Hudes and the Honorable Mickey Ibarra.

Ms. Hudes, a Philadelphia native, is a playwright and professor at Wesleyan University. She collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, to write In the Heights, winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. She visited Esperanza Academy on Oct. 17 to facilitate a “master class” workshop with the drama students, share parts of her life story, and answer the students’ questions. Ms. Hudes led the students in an exercise where they performed monologues they had written and received feedback and suggestions from their peers.

Ms. Hudes offered the students a few guiding questions for the workshop: “Why do stories matter? Why do you write?”

“Without stories, we forget,” She said. “Every story has multiple sides. The more people tell a story, the more complete it becomes.”

Mickey Ibarra is the president of the Ibarra Strategy Group, and the founder and chairman of the Latino Leaders Network. As the Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House in 1997, he served as a member of President Bill Clinton’s senior staff. Mr. Ibarra visited Esperanza on Oct. 24 to share his story with students, from his time growing up in foster care to his experiences working with the President of the United States. He also fielded questions from the students, many of whom lined up after his presentation to have him sign their new copies of his second book, Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph.

Mr. Ibarra shared several “Mickeyisms” from his first book, Mickeyisms: 30 Tips for Success. He encouraged the students to surround themselves with good people, work hard, and, especially, get a good education. Looking around at the auditorium full of students, Mr. Ibarra praised Esperanza Academy and expressed hope for their prospects.

“You’re on the right track,” he said.

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