DADE CITY — At Pasco High School, senior Hannah White is acknowledged as a student leader.
Active in the school's Career and Technical Education program and business academy and a member of the National Honor Society, she also is president of the school's Future Business Leaders of America chapter.
Now, she has the opportunity to lead and inspire other students on the local and national levels.
White, 17, has been selected to represent Pasco County in Ford NGL, a Ford Motor Co. program that aims to begin specialized educational academies "where students engage in real-world problem-solving and learn to think flexibly, strategically and innovatively" — NGL standing for "next generation learning."
"It's about redesigning education, and I want Pasco to be a part of it," said White. "These academies get kids interested in coming to school and keep them engaged in subjects that interest them."
After learning about Ford NGL through her school's CTE program, White became inspired to represent the program by joining a student panel, attending and speaking at Ford NGL conferences throughout the state, and helping to plan Ford NGL programs at Pasco High and other area schools. And she will participate in the Ford NGL National Conference, Oct. 19-21 in California.
"I started with doing research at school and spoke at the program's Phase 1 conference last October," she said. "This began my journey with Ford NGL, and I've been with them ever since."
Ford NGL, said White, is centered on the use of high-tech and highly interactive learning communities to teach science, technology, engineering, math and the arts; it also encompasses culinary, career, technical, social studies and other subject areas.
"I've seen Ford NGL activities that use robotic chariots to teach social studies," she said.
As part of her work, White hopes to recruit other students and collect their questions about Ford NGL, taking them back to program administrators. In addition, she will help to reach out to area business leaders, helping to promote their interest in the program and, hopefully, to secure future job opportunities for Ford NGL graduates.
"It's all about community involvement," she said. "We want to give these students a reason to come back to and work in their own community."
White hopes to continue her work with Ford NGL beyond high school, possibly as a marketing and communications specialist based in the Pasco area.
"Nowadays, the workforce is so competitive that we as students have to have that drive," she said. "We are the leaders of tomorrow, and it is up to us how we spend the rest of our lives."