Students from Garden City High School and Holcomb High School became the first students from their respective towns to qualify for the Jobs for America's Graduates-Kansas National Student Leadership Academy.

Vianca Esquivel of Garden City, who qualified in regional JAG-K competitions earlier this year, qualified in mathematics and Jace Tweedy of Holcomb qualified in employability, according to a press release.

More than 200 Kansas students attended the JAG-K State Career Development Conference in Salina last month to compete in in categories that showcase competencies attained in the JAG-K program, according to the release.

Students who placed in the top three of the four national qualifying categories, employability, public speaking, mathematics and project-based learning, earned the opportunity to compete against JAG students from across the country at the NSLA in Washington, D.C., this December.

Students also competed in categories for community service, mapping my future, art, videography, T-shirt design, senior portfolio, digital scrapbook and advertising poster design, according to the release.

Vianca and Jace will both join students from Iowa and Missouri at the Midwest Career Development Conference in Kansas City next month to practice and prepare for the NSLA.

JAG-K is a multiyear, in-school program for students in grades seven through 12, that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills, according to the release. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally accredited evidence-based model. In 2017, JAG-K students had a 98 percent graduation rate.

To learn more about JAG-K visit,  www.jagkansas.org, on Facebook at ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates- Kansas’ and on Twitter @JAG_Kansas. To learn more about poverty prevention programs funded by DCF, visit www.dcf.ks.gov.