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 Louisiana’s Youth Legislative Advisory Council.
Diaz will work alongside his peers over the next year to influence legislative decisions on issues impacting Louisiana’s youth.
As a first-generation Mexican immigrant, Diaz strives to make her parents proud by taking every opportunity to better herself and her community.
“I really like talking about community issues, youth issues, and generally trying to make the world a better place,” Diaz said. “I think people don’t realize that the younger generation really cares about the potential of our company and what we want to offer the world. A program like LYAC really captures it all.
St. James High School principal Shane Kliebert and media scholar Shelly Stall recommended Diaz apply for LYAC because of his 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 is a generous leader. She is humble.
Diaz is proud to represent St. James Parish, as many board-selected students come from top schools in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metropolitan 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 make their voice heard.”
Diaz looks forward to getting a glimpse into the inner workings of government at the inaugural LYAC Seminar scheduled for July 25-26 at the State Capitol. In addition to tackling social issues affecting young people, Diaz hopes to give other first-generation immigrants the opportunity to have their voices heard.
One of her greatest accomplishments was writing and illustrating her own novel, “Felicidad,” which follows the story of a Latina immigrant who dreams of becoming an actress in New York City.
After high school, Diaz plans to study immigration law to extend the opportunities she has had in her life to others.
Diaz has also been a supporter of environmental justice in the community through his involvement with RISE St. James.
“The more essay contests I entered, the more I realized that this was an issue that we don’t see taught in the classroom,” Diaz said. “We have chemical plants almost everywhere…it’s an environmental problem. Air pollution and global warming are catching up with us very quickly to the point where we don’t know if these changes are reversible or not.
Diaz was also selected as an ambassador for the 2021 Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy and advocates for women of color in government.
At St. James High, Diaz participates in the gifted art and theater programs. She was named the 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 was recognized for her academic achievement throughout high school and she participated in several organizations on campus, including but not limited to student council, library club, swim team , My Sister, My Friend Mentoring Group and Young Women of Distinction.
Diana Diaz is the daughter of Alicia and Jesus Diaz.