2015 National Student Leadership Academy in Washington, DC

White House

This week, eleven students are representing iJAG at the annual National Student Leadership Academy in Washington DC. They will be competing against students from across the nation in Employability Skills, Public Speaking, and Math events. In addition to their contests, the students have met with Iowa Representative David Young, and Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley (pictured below) to discuss the importance of iJAG and how the program, and their education specialists, have helped unlock their potential.

David Young

Joni Ernst

Chuck Grassley




David Ewing and Quinzell McNeil from iJAG Des Moines Lincoln HS, were selected to present as part of a distinguished panel of youth at the Governor's Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Council meeting held at the Monsanto Learning Center in Huxley, IA

David and Quinzell were asked to share their experience with STEM and to recommend to the Council ideas for engaging more students in STEM across the state of Iowa. These young men were outstanding and several council members from the private sector gave them a business card and asked if they would come speak at their companies and schools about making education relevant.

Wow!!! Great job David and Quinzell.


Internships Available to iJAG Students

The National Park Service is partnering with two Latino service organizations to provide graduate and undergraduate students with internships at national parks around the country.  The internship program is designed to engage the next generation of conservation stewards and will raise awareness of national parks and historic sites, their accessibility, and the need for the Latino community's involvement in their preservation.

These ten-week internships will be compensated with a weekly stipend, and housing and transportation costs will be fully covered.

Hispanic Access Foundation

Environment for the Americas


What are you doing on Saturday April 11?  Well if you aren't busy... make your way up to Mason City to "Dodge For A Cause."  We would like to get as many iJAG Teams as we possibly can for this event. Hayden Despenas is a young man in Mason City that has an illness called Friedreich's Ataxia.  It is a debilitating form of MD that can decrease life expectancy in children.  With your help we can help Hayden, Mason City iJAG, and have fun!! 





1700 4TH ST. SE MASON CITY, IA 50401





18 and Up = 3:30 PM - ???







JEREMY WHITE AT 641-660-7820  jwhite@masoncityschools.org

OR EVA GUTIERREZ AT 641-421-4432  egutierrez@masoncityschools.org

Legislative Day 2015


iJAG Students had a chance to speak with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad during Legislative Day 2015.


The Iowa State Capitol was buzzing today!! Not only because the Senate and the House of Representatives were busy passing the Gas Tax Bill, but students from iJAG classrooms all over the state had the chance to tell their story and ask their representatives to support iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) to the tune of one million dollars.  Governor Terry Brandstad currently has $700,000 reserved for iJAG this upcoming year, however if iJAG had a million dollars this powerful leadership and graduation program could expand to ten new programs across the state and benefit nearly 500 more Iowa students next year.  The students’ mission today was to thank their representatives for their time, tell their story, and to ask their leaders to make a decision that will help more Iowa students graduate with a purpose and unlock their potential.

Four Mason City iJAG students filled out applications and were selected to attend Legislative Day on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  Grades, demonstrated leadership qualities, and the ability to communicate their story were all considerations when selecting the students that would represent Mason City iJAG.  Robert Argo (11), Anna Nicholson (11), Gryphon Tedder (10), and Sylena Alshara (9) represented Mason City and themselves exceptionally well today.  Robert and Sylena even had the prestigious opportunity to be chosen to visit with Governor Terry Brandstad in his office this morning.  This is the first time in the 15 year existence of iJAG that the Governor has asked to speak with students.  Argo, Nicholson, Tedder, and Alshara  spoke with Representative Steckman, Representative Byrnes, Representative Upmeyer, Representative Jacoby, Representative Stanerson, Senator Ragan, and Senator Dotzler to tell them why iJAG is a priority to them and to the future of Iowa.

The Mason City iJAG students also had an opportunity to see how the legislative process works and tour the Iowa State Capitol.  The Iowa State Law Library was their favorite with the spiraling staircases.   They also had the privilege of meeting and networking with other iJAG students across the state.   WHEN iJAG HAS a million dollars, these students can say that their stories helped so many others unlock their potential.




"iJAG's Got Talent"

A big shout-out to Tatiana Crowe, from iJAG MacArthur HS in Decatur Ill.,who made it through Round One in the competition for "America's Got Talent," and goes to the front of the line to compete this weekend in Chicago before the show producers. She's singing the song she sang this past fall at iJAG Leadership Development Conference, "I Believe the Children are the Future." What a great opportunity for such a young student!!!

Preparing Youth for the Future: iJAG Partners with Hyperstream


From left to right:  Tamara Kenworthy, Hyperstream Program Director, Mycal Hall, Mia Burns, and Debbie Berthal)

iJAG in partnerships with the IT departments of Nationwide Insurance and IBM are mentoring students to learn technology skills, find out more about IT careers, and prepare to compete at the annual Hyperstream competition at Iowa State University on April 24-25, 2015. Hyperstream was developed by the Technology Association of Iowa in 2008 and is one of the Top 9 STEM programs recognized by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. It is a partnership between business and education that brings experts into the classroom who share their technical expertise and serve as mentors for 5th through 12th graders across the state of Iowa.  iJAG students from Des Moines Lincoln and Dubuque Hempstead are taking advantage of this initiative that fosters real-world learning through hands-on technology projects, engaging presentations, and competitions like the one at Iowa State University on April 24th-25th.  

“I got involved in Hyperstream because I never had anyone introduce technology ideas and concepts to me when I was in high school. I didn’t get interested in technology until my sophomore year of college. I have always wished I would have been introduced to it sooner. I also have such a passion for technology and just want to share it with students. If I can inspire one student to become interested in technology, then I’ve already made a difference. Overall, working with students is really rewarding. I probably get more out of working with them than they do.”

~Luke Leidal, Nationwide Insurance

This year several female students from Dubuque Hempstead were able meet Tamara Kenworthy, the Hyperstream Program Director, at the Digigirlz Conference in Altoona, Iowa.   The Digigirlz conference showcased technology from all over the globe and encourages young women to get involved in technical fields. The group stayed for the ceremony that celebrated Iowa’s women in STEM.   STEM professors from Iowa, Iowa State, and Grinnell received awards for their accomplishments in their fields; which included discovering cures for certain types of cancer to developing alternatives source of fuels. 

“This was a great experience.   I can’t wait to come next year! Our generation is the generation that is going to show out in technology.   We already know it.  Now we have to use it to fix the world problems.  And we will.”

 ~Mycal Hall Freshman Hempstead HS

Dubuque Hempstead will be sending two teams for the state competition; one in multimedia and the other in Cyber Defense.  The Cyber Defense tract is a new and exciting tract for Hyperstream and one that will be not only a great career for the future but a necessary one to protect business and governments from cyber attacks.  

“There are evil people out there who can hack into government servers and create all kinds of chaos that is why we need to be one step ahead of them at all times,” 

 ~Ian Dahl Freshman Hempstead HS. 


Students from Lincoln High School working with Nationwide while on a tour to their Des Moines Campus.

Meanwhile at Des Moines Lincoln this year, two iJAG teams will compete in the Hyperstream competition in Ames later this April. One team is learning Robotics, which focuses on LEGO NXT Mindstorms. Through weekly modules, students build and program Mindstorm robots to perform increasing complex tasks. iJAG students are finding that problem-solving and teamwork are crucial to the success of their projects. The second team is focused on Multimedia. Each week, students shoot footage, edit video, create storyboards, and manage all aspects of video production for real-world projects including skill-training videos for the Puppy Jake Foundation. In April 2015, iJAG students will also premiere a PSA for the Puppy Jake Foundation, an organization that trains and provides services dogs for wounded veterans.

“Hyperstream is a way for me to mentor youths in IT much the same way I had IT mentors when I was young.”

 ~ Paul Beers, Nationwide


iJAG Students Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Dubuque Hempstead iJAG Students joined Hempstead Staff  and other dignitaries on their day off  from school to commemorate the birthday of Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr at the 23rd annual Dr. King, Birthday Breakfast, organized by the local chapter of the NAACP.      

iJAG Vice President Yasmine Bullock joined four other students at the Grand Harbor in Dubuque. Attendees shared a hot breakfast and listened to various speakers that discussed  the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as relevant civil rights issues that are pervading today.  

Long time civil rights leader Margaret Huang was the keynote speaker. The title of her address was,  “Critical Issue:  What WE, as a society, can do.”  Careanna Jaeger found her speech riveting and said she is “determined to do more at our school” in protecting people’s civil rights. Huang is a chief strategist for Amnesty International.   

Closing remarks were provided by Robert Kimball.  iJAG is familiar to Mr. Kimball as he was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Dubuque iJAG Initiation & Installation Ceremony.  

Dubuque Hempstead iJAG was honored to be a part of this event!

The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates

Forbes Magazine recently published an article featuring the skills most employers want from gradautes in the class of 2015. These skills are at the core of the JAG curriculum, the 37 competencies we teach our students in the iJAG program.

Click here to read the full article.

iJAG Celebrates Service For Veterans Day 2014

Masoncityvolunteers2  Washvolunteers

This year iJAG wanted to mark Veterans Day across all of our programs and set aside this time as an opportunity to serve others. Students walked in parades, put on Veterans Day assemblies, collected donations for Veterans groups, and hosted the military in their class rooms. Other students extended the day of service into the community gathering blankets for the homeless and even raking leaves for seniors.