St. James Parish student selected to Legislative Youth Advisory Council
Published 12:07 am Saturday, June 11, 2022
VACHERIE — Diana Diaz, a rising senior at St. James High School, was among 31 outstanding students from across the state selected as new members of the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council.
Diaz will work alongside her peers over the next year to influence the legislative decisions on issues impacting the youth of Louisiana.
As a first-generation immigrant from Mexico, Diaz strives to make her parents proud by seizing every opportunity to better herself and her community.
“I really do enjoy speaking out for issues amongst the community, issues for youth and just in general trying to make the world a better place,” Diaz said. “I think people don’t realize that the younger generation really does care about the potential of our society and what we want to put forward for the world to see. A program like LYAC really does capture all of that.”
St. James High School principal Shane Kliebert and media specialist Shelly Stall recommended Diaz apply for the LYAC because of her leadership ability.
“She always has great ideas, and she’s the first person to volunteer for anything at St. James,” Stall said. “Her strength is that she’s a giving leader. She’s humble.”
Diaz is proud to represent St. James Parish, as many of the students selected from the council hail from larger schools in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metro areas.
“I think anyone has the potential to be involved, especially at the state level,” Diaz said. “Anyone from any parish can participate and really put their voice out there.”
Diaz looks forward to getting a glimpse at the inner-workings of government during the first LYAC seminar scheduled for July 25-26 at the State Capitol. In addition to combatting social issues affecting young people, Diaz hopes to give other first-generation immigrants the opportunity to make their voices heard.
One of her greatest achievements has been writing and illustrating her own novel, “Felicidad,” which followed the story of a Latina immigrant with dreams of making it big as an actress in New York.
After high school, Diaz plans to study immigration law to extend the opportunities she’s had in her life to others.
Diaz has also been a proponent for environmental justice in the community through her involvement with RISE St. James.
“The more essay contests I participated in, the more I realized this is an issue we don’t see taught in the classroom,” Diaz said. “We have chemical plants almost everywhere… it is an environmental problem. Air pollution and global warming are catching up to us really quickly to the point where we don’t know if these changes are reversible or not.”
Diaz was additionally selected as the 2021 Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy Ambassador and serves as an advocate for women of color in government.
At St. James High, Diaz participates in the gifted art and theater programs. She’s been named overall winner of the Louisiana Association of Festivals and Fairs Poster Contest in 2018 and 2021. Her art has been displayed in the governor’s mansion.
Diaz has been recognized for her academic achievement throughout high school, and she’s participated in several campus organizations including but not limited to student council, library club, swim team, the “My Sister, My Friend” mentoring group, and Young Women of Distinction.
Diana Diaz is the daughter of Alicia and Jesus Diaz.