Picture of me and Senator Stabenow from the SADD SPEAKs program
I'm Kirtana Choragudi and I'm a current senior at Kingsford High School in Kingsford, MI. I have been president of my high school SADD Chapter for three years and I am extremely passionate about SADD! I was recently named SADD National SLC Member and Student of the Year 2016-17.
Last summer, I had the honor of participating in the SADD SPEAKs program with 14 other inspiring students. We were able to advocate on behalf of issues that are important to teens, and learned a plethora of information on advocating, public speaking, legislative processes specifically with teen-related issues, and much more! Although the issues were already important to us before the program, SADD SPEAKs truly empowered us and gave us the information, resources, and tools needed to advocate on the behalf of our peers. We were able to help plan and host a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., and many of us were even able to meet and become very close with a group of extremely qualified and diverse students. Although we were only together for a few days, I know I will continue to keep many of them as good friends for years to come! It's so difficult to pick a favorite specific part of this experience, because there was so much that I loved about the entire experience.
When I was first accepted to SADD SPEAKs, I was in shock! The SADD SPEAKs program was one of my first experiences which introduced me to SADD at national level. Since my state does not have a state SADD chapter, my experience with SADD had been limited to my local chapter up until the 2015 SADD National Conference and the SPEAKs program. Learning about how to help advocate for important teen issues, and learning about those issues specifically was definitely one of the highlights of my SPEAKs experience. The experience empowered me so much that I knew I wanted to be involved even more with SADD nationally for years to come, and inspired me to apply for the SADD National SLC and Student of the Year. SADD SPEAKs opened up an entire world of opportunities, learning experiences, and information that I would never have had if I had not applied last May. SADD students around the country would all benefit from applying and participating in this amazing program, and I know it will change their lives just as much or even more than it changed mine.