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Austin ALC students recognized at state level

On Wednesday, May 5-6, two students from the Austin Alternative Learning Center (ALC) attended the MAAP Stars 26th annual State Spring Events Conference, held virtually this year due to COVID-19.

Alanya Aguilera, left, and Nadiya Evans both competed at the State Spring Events Conference for MAAP STARS. Photo provided

Senior Alanya Aguilera and junior Nadiya Evans teamed up to create a  video promotion project and earned fourth place overall. Both students placed high in the Public Speaking event, as well, with Aguilera taking second and Evans taking sixth.

“The best decision I ever made was joining MAAP Stars,” Evans said. “(I) definitely would encourage everyone to join!”

This conference was the second state-wide event hosted by MAAP Stars this year and focused on showcasing students’ vocational and leadership skills. Fifty-seven students from across the state came together to participate in nine different competitive and non-competitive events  that were offered virtually.

In a normal year, there would be 16 events for students to choose from. 

The conference is set up similar to a DECA competition. All students participate in entry-level rounds, with top point earners being called back to compete in later rounds.

The Grand Awards Ceremony, held Thursday afternoon, recognized top-eight finishers in each of the nine team and individual events and awarded students gold, silver, and bronze ribbons based on their scores in the opening round. 

“MAAP STARS was a completely different experience from all the other day-to-day classes,  and I don’t know what I would’ve done had I not been in that class,” Aguilera said. “Winning second place was a dream come true. I was elated because I didn’t try to win, I just tried to do my best.” 

MAAP STARS hosts three state-wide events each year. Fall Leadership Conference, usually held in November, focuses on developing a leadership team for each chapter and planning the year’s activities. Legislative Day, usually in February, allows students to get a glimpse into the workings of state government and to share their experiences with state lawmakers. Spring Events Conference, usually held in April or May, allows students to share their skills in a competition style two-day event. 

MAAP STARS is the youth organization of the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs. STARS stands for Success,  Teamwork, Achievement, Recognition, and Self-esteem. MAAP STARS events help at-risk students develop professional  employment, academic, and social skills; experience career-related activities that assists them in making informed  career choices; building a cooperative and competitive spirit through individual and team activities and competition;  strengthening social skills; and building an appreciation for the responsibilities of citizenship. MAAP STARS provides an  opportunity for students to have a sense of belonging to a larger community. 

The 2022 Spring Events Conference will be held in May at the Verizon Center in Mankato. For more information about  judging at this event or to become a sponsor for the event, please contact Patti Haasch, MAAP Stars Chair, at  maapstarschair@gmail.com or at 612-751-2490.