Llano Grande has always stressed identity formation and leadership development as a way to help youth achieve higher education and their vision of what our community can be. Over the past 15 years, Llano Grande has worked with and supported people who have graduated from some of the nation’s most elite universities including Yale, Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Tufts, MIT, Stanford, Occidental, Kalamazoo, University of Michigan, University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State and Trinity.

These are the stories of our future graduates …

Mark Rodriguez, Edcouch-Elsa High School, class of 2008

The staff at Llano Grande has honestly changed my whole perspective of life and on how much I can control what happens in it. They have shown me that I had all the abilities to do what I wanted in life, and they gave me that sense of hope to accomplish my dreams. They provided me with so many opportunities to travel and experience new cultures and environments to broaden my mind of the diversity in our world. They have also been there for me with personal problems, which they really help me out a lot. The staff is honestly like my brothers and sisters, always being there for me when I need the help. I’m so glad to be a part of Llano Grande because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been the person I am today.

Arturo Ortiz, Edcouch-Elsa High School, class of 2008

Llano Grande has really made a really huge impact on my life in many different ways. On the first day I stepped in the classroom they gathered us together and told us that we would all sit in a big circle and everything said in the circle would stay in the circle. The first thing that really made me realize it would be different in this area was that they were not our teachers but our co-learners. I felt really comfortable with this idea and I was able to talk to everyone and be really open on things going on in my life, thoughts and ideas. This really helped me learned how to be outspoken and that my voice did matter and could make a change. Throughout the year I have really changed as a person and a peer. I have learned how to take care of problems I had and will have in the future, and that if we work together we can succeed what we put our mind onto. They have showed how I can be a part of things that really need to be put into action as in recycling, spreading the Chicano/Hispanic culture and keeping it in our coming generations, trying to keep our communities safe and secure for everyone. I am really proud to say that Llano Grande was a big part of my life and it made me really change on how my outlook on everything is.

James Vela, Edcouch-Elsa High School, class of 2009

I first heard about Llano Grande when my older sister was involved with the organization years ago. It wasn’t until I entered High School that I became curious and more aware about it and soon after, enrolled in the Llano Grande class. As months passed I gained a positive perspective of our community that I didn’t have before, as well as being able to study abroad that I know I wouldn’t be able to without the help and encouragement from the members in Llano Grande. Llano Grande has opened its arms to many kids, which has opened our eyes to see what there is beyond the valley, and prepare us for our future.