CAST Students Participate in Speak Up Speak Out Speed Interviews

In preparation for the January 19 CAST Schools Speak Up Speak Out Regional Civics Fair, over 100 students met with experts to fine-tune their proposals. Topics covered ranged from Arts & Culture to Well-being, Civic Engagement, Community Safety, and more. Students asked for feedback, requested data, and captured testimonials from those who tackle these opportunities daily.

Participating experts included:

  • Riley Robinson, Director, Artpace San Antonio
  • Stephanie LaFroscia, Executive Director, SaySí
  • Rachel Sakai, Longtime educator, Bexar County
  • Lauren Pyle, Workforce Development Coordinator, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
  • Crystal Murray, Workforce Development Coordinator, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District 
  • Jennifer Solis, Project Manager Lead, Accenture
  • Rogelio “Roger” Narvaez, Homeless Outreach Clinical Coordinator, City of San Antonio Department of Human Services
  • Nellia Jones, Regional Philanthropy Officer, American Red Cross of Central & South Texas
  • Ricardo Ramirez, Senior Sales Executive, San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter
  • Dr. Israel Guerrero, Staff Scientist, Texas Biomedical Research Institute
  • Maria Palma, Nutrition Policy Lead, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
  • Vicki Thomas, Coalition Coordinator, San Antonio Council on Alcohol & Drug Awareness
  • Marisa Perez-Diaz, Executive Director, Firstmark Credit Union and District 3 State Board of Education Member
  • Jesse Lopez, Central Region Manager, Travis Manion Foundation
  • Adrian Lopez, CEO, Workforce Solutions Alamo
  • Anthony Betori, Director of Curriculum and Innovation, Health Futures of Texas
  • Chris Flores, Planning and Analysis, HEB
  • Jessica Knudsen, President & CEO, Clarity Child Guidance Center
  • Jeanette Ball, Superintendent, Southwest ISD
  • Christa Aldrich, Literacy Program Manager, H-E-B
  • Dr. David Johnson, Principal, TransormED Consulting
  • Julia Grizzard, Executive Director, Bexar County Education Coalition
  • Jerry Treviño, Public Health Administrator, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
  • Dr. Mina Aghababaei, Water Engineer, Arcadis, U.S., Inc.

Speak Up Speak Out, or “SUSO,” is a civic education program that provides students with an opportunity to activate their voices and discover the power they have in changing their communities for the better. Students will be equipped with the civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to make a positive difference.


Throughout this project, students will work with a small group or a partner to identify a problem in their community and attempt to create a long-term solution. Students will conduct extensive research through interviews and surveys and explore digital and library resources. Students will work with community experts to receive authentic feedback on their proposed ideas as they craft their solutions. All groups will present their findings via speeches and a digital presentation to a panel of judges.


For the 6th year, CAST Schools will host the annual Speak Up Speak Out (SUSO) San Antonio Civics Fair at Texas A&M University-San Antonio in partnership with the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Over 60 judges from San Antonio’s business and civic communities will listen and give students feedback throughout the competition. The top three high school and middle school teams will advance to the state competition at the University of Texas at Austin on March 1. 

Thank you to our generous funders for supporting YOUTH VOICE:

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Copyright © 2021 CAST Schools


The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.