D.C. To Boston: Our last week in D.C. was surely an emotional one. Well, the final week for the other 3 interns, which was even more emotional. It was a blur, the days passed quickly, the hours flew by, time was winding down. We weren’t ready to leave. I wasn’t at least. I knew when it’s over, then it’s over. First we had our graduation ceremony/ Cleo’s farewell reception. The week before the reception, we were given a task to write our farewell speech. All week long Cheyla, Juan, or Priscilla would ask me how my speech was coming along, and my answer would always be: “Oh, fine.” I never wrote one. I felt like I didn’t need to. The growth and confidence that I developed in the two months assured me that the words will come organically. I was correct. I went up the stage, with my legs shaking and saw Cleo, Kenneth, Janna, Delia, Robert, and Norma. The same people who believed in me from the beginning. I spoke without a problem and everything came from the heart.
The day the other interns left D.C. was an exciting but emotional one. I was excited for them–for their future and the fact that I will be with them through all their success. Congratulations to Juan. We grew together and created a bond that will carry through the rest of our lives, one that will push us to make a change together in Florida. Congratulations to Priscilla! She considered me a brother and I took the role serious. I looked after her even though I happened to be the youngest one in the group. And, extra congrats to her and Benny! (P.S. Benny I’m watching you). And, a big congratulations to Cheyla! It wasn’t until the end of the internship where we had time to hang out and bond, just the two of us. I’m glad that we did, we grew close and she’ll be a friend of mine for life. I didn’t cry until I gave her my final good-bye hug. When speaking about my fellow interns I become protective, I care about them all so deeply and will fight for them and strive to support them any way I can. ¡Vámonos!
Boston to Florida: It was time! This is where all of my work was put into motion and was debated and voted on. I worked extensively on the resolutions for NHCSL. I was passionate for one in particular: Pesticides in agriculture. In the resolution, I advocate for the continuation on the improvement of the Worker Protection Standard and also to increase safety reporting for pesticide exposure nationwide. I am very proud to say that my resolution was passed! And my director, Kenneth Romero, acknowledged me in front of the entire executive committee of state legislators. Many late nights were spent with my fellow NHCSL interns Seth and Lucas. Late enough to the point where we did not get the time to enjoy Boston. It was worth it though. I’m proud of the change I made and of the work I brought forward.
It was finally time to fly home. It was, again, another emotional last day. Saying goodbye to Guillermo, Federico, Carolina, Rhina, and Kenneth. They expressed how proud they were of me and I was happy that I grew a bond with them because they motivated me to keep going and that hard work would get me places. Getting off the plane was surreal. It was over and I was home. I didn’t cry when I saw my parents. I was done crying. I’m home now and I need to make things happen. I’m definitely ready to go back to D.C. and keep making a change.
Also, I would like to use this platform to thank people who were supportive of me that I didn’t officially thank in person. First, most importantly, Griselda. She was a HUGE help with our blogs, in crafting and editing them. Ivon, one of the former interns; John Menditto; Leslie, who went to New York with us; Linda, Juan and Priscilla’s host; Jessica, an intern I met who was so gracious; Patrick and Alvaro from Georgetown Law; Ron Estrada from Univision; and Tuffa! My first ever lyft ride was with Tuffa and it was amazing!
By: Armando Cejas, NMSHSA Class of 2017