Three Perry High School students in the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) program will compete at the National Student Leadership Academy on Nov. 15-18 in Washington D.C.


The students earned the trip after competing at the state competition on Oct. 11 at Nationwide Insurance. Five Perry students qualified for the state competition.


Students were selected to participate in the state event by submitting a personal story essay that outlined some challenges from their life and how joining iJAG has helped them. They had to include any leadership activities they had participated in and conclude with sharing how they planned to use their skills in the upcoming school year and beyond.


John Borjas and Nathaly Ramirez took first place in the Project Based Learning category. Their project was based off of a cardboard boat teambuilding project we did as a class last spring.


“In John and Nathaly’s presentation, the judges were blown away (my program manager’s words when she was telling me) by their presentation, poise and ability to connect with their audience,” said Tina Lutterman, iJAG instructor.


Marleni Grijalva took first place in Public Speaking, with her given speech topic of how the JAG Advantage has helped her in high school and how she will continue growing her experience in the future. The JAG Advantage includes project based learning, trauma informed care and work-based learning.


“One of the judge’s for Marleni’s speech commented that he found her speech and presentation phenomenal and suggested that she not change any part of it for her national competition. He was truly impressed by her,” Lutterman said.


Two other iJAG students were selected to compete at the state level. Brady Eiteman and Rhylei Lyddon competed as a team in the project based learning category.


Borjas, Ramirez and Grijalva will compete at the National Student Leadership Academy event next month in Washington D.C.


“I know they will represent our iJAG class, our school, community and our state with pride and enthusiasm,” Lutterman said.