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Guest Blogger: Gretel Liana Rodriguez describes her experiences as a novice NEA RA attendee

Gretel Liane Rodriguez This is my third NEA Representative Assembly, and I am as excited to be here as if it were my first! My first RA was in Washington, D.C., and I think that is the best place to attend the RA for the first time. I traveled all alone and didn’t know anyone that year. I have seven friends traveling with me this year, and I am rooming with two of them. I had to beg to find a roommate my first year. Luckily, a veteran took me under her wing.

There is one true fact about the RA: Everyone is so friendly and kind to “newbies.” You feel loved and cared for – so Shout Out if you are new so that others can help you.

I remember wanting to do more at the RA my first year, and now I am doing all the things I had been wanting to do. I volunteered to do registration, which is a great place to help and meet new people. Members with smiles or nervous questions enter the room. You help newbies to feel secure, or you rush veterans out the door so that they can get to their other business. Working with other volunteers is an honor and I’ve learned so much.

I’m also helping out with the signs. Roberto Rodriguez who is my brother from another mother – and my mentor – laughed and told me, “How is anyone going to see the sign you are so short!” What are big brothers for, right? He is proud that I am getting more involved, so that is his loving way of saying, “Good job.”

I was exhausted last night, but went to bed with a filled heart and am excited for the rest of the week. I am in good hands and I hope that I can help others have a good experience here as well.

And here’s a Shout Out to Ben Fabian, Gene Chavira and Vicente Martinez for this being their first year at the RA! 

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