On Friday, February 7, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt visited the Del Valle High School (DVHS) to speak with the Superintendent’s Student Leadership Cohort (SLC), a group of freshmen to senior students who are interested in leadership and community service. Additionally, Eckhardt’s visit aligned with Michael Cunningham’s Foreign Services and Diplomacy Debate III and Practicum of Government class’ unit on Women’s Empowerment/Women in Politics.

Eckhardt encouraged students to continue their leadership and service efforts through high school and into their career. She encouraged students to ask, “What is my purpose, and how can I make a difference?” 

“It allows you to do something important and relevant. It allows you to serve, to matter, to make a difference. Not as a momentary influencer but over time with a purpose-driven life. And there are many many different ways to serve,” said Eckhart.

Judge Eckhardt spoke in detail with students about the government serving as an equalizing force with the opportunity to fairly distribute policy for the betterment of all. She noted, “Del Valle ISD does a great job of advocating and demanding that opportunity is equally spread throughout the county. You can be very proud of that.”

After listening to Judge Eckhardt speak, freshman SLC student Emily Arajo said, “I feel honored that the judge came to DVHS because I know she has a full schedule and she could go to any high school in the state. She picked us. She sees the good that we are doing here. I feel valued,”

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the District’s GEAR UP coordinators and administrative team, leaders like Eckhart are accepting invites to inspire DVHS students to meet more people, form new connections and boldly approach their future as aspiring leaders.

“With this program, you get to meet role models and leaders of this community, our community, and our state,” said Alberto Sierra, DVHS senior. “I’ve learned that making connections can help you get further ahead in life. Some of the words that have stuck with me from meeting these leaders are, ‘It’s not always just about what you know, it’s sometimes also about who you know.”

Eckhardt speaking behind podium Class of students listening to Eckhardt Eckhardt surrounded by SLC students Eckhardt surrounded by women leaders in DVISD Eckhardt laughing with SLC students during lunch break