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SBHS students attend education conference in Sacramento

Attendees present proposals to State Assembly and Senate Committees on Education.
(Left to Right) Ian Sills, Alanah Martinez, Evan Rosales and Assemblyman (and Baler alumnus) Robert Rivas. Photo courtesy of Catalina Lemos.
Sills speaking during the conference. Photo provided.
(Left to Right) Faith Fernandez, Ian Sills, Alanah Martinez and Evan Rosales. Photo courtesy of Alanah Martinez.

Four San Benito High School students attended and participated in the Student Advisory Board on Legislation in Education (SABLE) at the State Capitol Jan. 14-16.

Associated Student Body (ASB) President Alanah Martinez, ASB Vice President Ian Sills, Senior Class Vice President Evan Rosales and Student Representative to the Board Faith Fernandez traveled to Sacramento for the conference put on by student-led nonprofit California Association of Student Councils (CASC). Sills is also the CASC President for Region 6 (San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties) this year and worked to recruit more students from SBHS to attend. Last year's 2017-18 President Mylah Smiley acted as a counselor at SABLE this year, said SBHS Student Activities Director Catalina Lemos.

"I am very proud of these students for furthering their leadership skills," Lemos said. "They worked in groups to come up with proposals and then presented to the Assembly Committees on Education. They returned very enthusiastic and had a much better understanding of the steps involved with changing educational policies. Advocating for change is an integral part of being a leader, so it is exciting for them to participate in this real life process."

ASB President Martinez told BenitoLink she has been part of CASC since 2015. While she has attended various conferences, she referred to her experience with SABLE as "one of my most extraordinary experiences with CASC."

"Getting to create proposals on pressing issues in education with students from all across California is something that I will forever be grateful for," Martinez said.

According to the CASC website, on the last day of the conference students incorporate the solutions that they developed during the event into a proposal and present to the California Senate Education Committee. In the past, results from SABLE have included altering statewide graduation requirements for high school students and changes in curriculum. The website also states that SABLE is the only conference in the nation that allows students to directly voice their concerns to the Senate and Assembly Committees on Education.

Martinez said her group's proposal focused on getting gender-neutral restrooms on all California campuses and making them available to every student.

"Our friend Arvin Hariri, who is the governmental affairs director from CASC, will continue to work with legislature to try to get this bill passed," Martinez said. "It will hopefully [be] authored by Senator [Nancy] Skinner so that [it] can become a law in January 2020."

ASB Vice President Sills said the CASC Region 6 Cabinet is expected to hold two upcoming events in Hollister. The first is the San Benito County Forum on Education to be held Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the San Benito High School cafeteria. The second event is the Region 6 Leadership Conference to be held Feb. 9 at the high school. Registration information for the conference can be found on www.casc.net/Region-6.

"To know that students are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and make real change is why my love for CASC only continues to grow," Martinez said. "I wholeheartedly believe in the power of the youth to produce change, and I thank the communities of CASC and SBHS Associated Student Body for giving me a platform to be part of this change."

 

 

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