PCHS Sweeps LIA State Conference Awards


The posters of past LIA State Conferences in the PCHS hallway.

Kate Beal, Editor-in-Chief

Latinos in Action (LIA) went to the State LIA Conference on May 10th at the University of Utah.  Two thousand five hundred students attended the conference to take classes and hear from inspiring members of the Latinx community, such as successful business people.  Students competed in various categories based on the theme “Trust in Me,” including video, artwork, performance, and writing.


Senior Edwin Ramos and sophomores Isabella Escobar, Jessica Juarez, and Jessica Loya won first place in the video competition.  Junior Arantza Pedraza won second place in the writing competition.  Junior Jesus Suarez won second place in the art competition, and sophomore Gisselle Nava won third place in the art competition.


All PCHS LIA members entered one of the four competitions.  While this is not required at the state-level, the LIA advisor Anna Williams does require it for Park City students.


The students received this year’s theme in January and had about a month to create their submissions.


The group of four that won first place in the video competition made a three-minute short film about the relationship between Latino parents and their children.


The students recorded voice-overs that spoke directly to parents, some in Spanish and some in English.  The short film featured many short clips, including photos of some of the group members as children.


“The message behind our video is about building trust with your parents … in Mexican culture, I guess your parents don’t trust you enough … so we tried sending a message out to parents that they can trust us,” said Ramos, who edited most of the film.


All four members of the group won seven hundred fifty dollars in scholarship money.


Pedraza wrote a poem for her submission called To Trust Again.


“The reason why I wrote it was because I really wanted to give a voice to the marginalized in this country.  I wrote it … to feel kinda like an anthem for those who might not have a voice,” said Pedraza.


Pedraza wrote a first draft but was not satisfied, so she completely restructured the poem and rewrote it.  The final version of the poem is structured into four different movements.


“The first [movement] more deals with sort of that initial trust that this nation will let you accomplish the American dream.  However, the second movement is more focused on betrayal and how that did not happen … And the third movement is more of that rising from the ground, and not just doing that for yourself but also helping other people get there.  And the fourth movement is just when you reestablish that trust, finally … Maybe not in the nation but among yourselves,” explained Pedraza.


After winning second place in the writing competition, Pedraza was happy that she won an award but wished that she could have had the chance to share her poem.


“Only first place got to speak in front of the audience … I really wanted to share my poem with the world and I wasn’t able to do that then … I’m determined to do that some other way.  It wasn’t meant to be I guess, but I’ve come to terms with it,” said Pedraza.


Pedraza won two thousand dollars in scholarships.


Suarez placed second in the art competition with his clay sculpture.  He was inspired by past competition winners who also created sculptures.  He chose to express the “Trust in Me” theme as self-trust.


The sculpture depicts two versions of the same person.  The older version wears a graduation cap and gown, and is supporting the younger struggling version of himself.


Suarez earned two thousand dollars worth of scholarship money for his win.


Nava won one thousand dollars worth of scholarship money for winning third-place in the same category.


Williams is very proud of the LIA students for their incredible performance in the competition.  


“These kids are really spectacular because they have to maintain a 3.0 GPA, most of them make high honor roll, they far exceed that, and if we are just reminded that the students engage in our academic courses including honor and AP courses in their second language and still thrive, I think that’s pretty awesome … I think it’s testament to their character and the kinds of people they are, and I just think the students in LIA are extraordinary,” said Williams.