November 2015 eNewsletter: A Capitol Experience

It was an exciting opportunity for a group of OLP students who attended the LegiSchool Town Hall Meeting on “Powering the Creative Economy in California” in Sacramento. As the only school from Southern California to attend, this event provided the perfect platform for Karime Laborin ’17, Mary Kathryn Lannaeu ’17, Alejandra Garcia ’17, Julia Isbell ’17, Rebecca Genovese ’16, Ms. Nagem, and I, Giselle Valdez ’16, to engage with state leaders and share ideas on the problems affecting our community, especially involving the arts and education.

In California, the creative industry constitutes nearly 10% of all jobs. Unfortunately, California is 47th in the nation when it comes to spending in the arts. Along with 80 other high school students, the OLP students and I asked questions about restructuring California’s budget to emphasize increased spending for the arts to the panel of state leaders. The panel consisted of the Sacramento Superintendent, a State Senator, the Director of California Arts Council, and the Director of TechNet. Through the panel discussion, we learned the way educational standards are changing to foster further creative learning across all subjects. In addition, we learned how politicians are fighting for legislation to restructure the state budget and include more arts spending in education and employment. Lastly, given that California’s Silicon Valley is the center for technological advancement, we learned how companies like TechNet are advocating for creative education, through technology. By expanding technology within education, schools are able to build and grow the technological innovators of tomorrow.

After the panel discussion, we toured the State Capitol and learned more about our state’s roots. From standing on the State Assembly and Senate floors, to learning about the intriguing 1920s design of the building, to sitting in the office of State Senator Marty Block, we were given the fascinating chance to take a glimpse into the world of politics and understand the importance of creative economy for California’s future advancement. Thank you to OLP and Ms. Nagem for giving us this unique opportunity and Terra Thorne from The LegiSchool Project for sponsoring us to attend this engaging experience in Sacramento!