Sacramento Advocacy Trip


Nour Khayat, Staff Writer

Six University High School students were selected to attend the Sacramento Advocacy Trip on March 16. The Sacramento Student Advocacy Program, sponsored by the Irvine Unified Council PTA (IUCPTA), is an educational program for IUSD high school juniors and seniors to discuss educational issues with legislators and state officials. 

The students attending the Sacramento Advocacy trip go through an application process in order to attend the trip. Thirty students from the six IUSD high schools were chosen. From University High School, Harper Richardson, Caitlyn Liao, Karina Nanda, Kelly Tou, Jean Meyer and Alim Nurriv were selected to attend the trip. 

The 2022 trip to Sacramento this past March was an in-person visit, as opposed to the previous 2021 Sacramento Student Advocacy Program Trip, which was hosted on Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We flew up to Sacramento and met with legislators, lobbyists and advisors after meeting with board members and advisors once a week since February,” Richardson said.

The selected students had the opportunity to meet with several people on the IUSD team and board as well as those working at the capital. 

The meeting for the day included hearing from the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Mary Nicely, the State Board of Education Staff, Irvine Assemblymember, Steven Choi and Erika Hoffman, the CA School Boards Association, the School Employees Association, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris and more.

The students had a quick trip to Sacramento, with students flying in and out of the city in one day.

We left from the airport at about 7 am and returned at around 10 pm,” Meyer said. We got to hear about the jobs of each individual and were able to ask questions about issues we were passionate about like mental health, curriculum, raising the base and climate change. One large aspect was how programs are funded and how we can equitably increase funding.”

In preparation for the advocacy trip, the IUSD students met with each other on a weekly basis with counsel sessions hosted at each school over a month before the trip on March 16. 

Meyer elaborated on her experience during the Sacramento Advocacy trip. 

“I had a good experience, I met many very smart and kind people from all over IUSD, as well as furthered my interest in the legislative aspect of education and was able to advocate for myself and my peers,” Meyer said.

Richardson shares a similar experience at the trip. 

“The overall experience was great!” Richardson said. “Not only was it super educational, but it was also fun and we got to tour the capital which was beautiful.”