Engaging Students in Tobacco Policy

December’s Town Hall meeting was a success! Approximately 120 students from across Northern California gathered at the Tsakopoulous Library Galleria a few blocks from the Capitol. Our Interim Director Elisia Hoffman served as the moderator, while the students and panelists critically asked questions of one another relating to tobacco policy.

Our distinguished panelists answered a variety of students’ questions, ranging from new policies on e-cigarettes, to perspectives on the effect of cigarette taxation. Panelists also brought their own questions and asked students to think about the changing culture of youth’s views on tobacco. The purpose of LegiSchool’s Town Halls is to engage students in matters of public policy that are important to Californians. And I felt this Town Hall was a perfect example of LegiSchool’s mission, vision and intent.

Students were given a curriculum guide to deepen their understanding of the topic. Our guides are a great way to bring current and state issues into the classroom. They can also be of good use to students who are unable to attend the Town Hall in person.

In addition to the Town Hall meeting, students had the opportunity to be given a tour by alumni Capitol Fellows and visit the Senate Floor. A lucky group of students were also able to visit their members’ offices and speak with a Legislative Director!

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Many thanks to the engaging group of panelists:

• Dr. Angelo Williams, Director of the California Black Health Network
• Kim Chen, Government Affairs Manager at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
• Madeleine Cooper, Legislative Director for Assemblymember Harper
• David Wolfe, Legislative Director at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

And shout out to the participating high schools: Cordova High, Mt. Eden, JFK (Fremont) and Elk Creek Jr/Sr High School. We are looking forward to our February Town Hall meeting on driverless cars!

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Announcing Our Photo Contest Winners!

The caliber of photos we received in this year’s “California Through My Eyes” contest was pretty amazing. Our judges had no small task in trying to select our winner and runners-up, all of whom received a cash prize. In addition, the judges helped select about 60 photos to be named for honorable mention. The final results (showcased below) are pretty incredible and illustrate the diversity and wonder of the state of California! You can also see all of these photos on display at the State Capitol building, starting June 20. They’ll be located on the third floor of the annex.

Hundreds of student photographers participated from 54 high school around the state, submitting not only their photo but an essay describing how their photo represents California. We want to thank the schools, districts and legislative offices that helped spread the word about the contest, which we hope allows students to exercise their creativity while thinking critically about what California means to them.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER ($150)

Puente

EMELY PUENTE, Bellflower High School

Emely was selected as the grand prize winner for her photo, Lost in Thought, a portrait of her grandfather sitting at his home. As she notes, her grandparents “made themselves a part of California when they arrived in the early 70’s. They had to support their 8 children together so they made a living as strawberry pickers, working as a mechanic and being a housemaid…My generation will never understand what it is like to struggle – we get things handed down to us instead of earning it. This is California through my eyes.”

RUNNERS – UP ($100), in alphabetical order  Continue reading

Photo Contest Highlights

Every year, LegiSchool hosts our California Through My Eyes Photo contest, where we ask students to step behind the lens and capture an image that represents California. One grand prize winner  and four runners-up receive cash prizes. All winning photos and honorable mention entries are displayed at the Capitol during the summer.

Our contest is now open, so we decided to use this occasion and highlight some of the amazing photos we have received over the last few years: Continue reading

Essay Winners at the Capitol

On March 2nd, our essay winners from around the state gathered together in Sacramento to meet with lawmakers and talk to them about their ideas regarding youth political participation.

To begin the day, students met with Assemlymember Talamantes Eggman, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Civic Engagement. She talked with them about the importance of getting involved in your community, using examples from her past to illustrate her point. Students had the chance to ask her a lot of great questions about her work, her life, and her career. She had some amazing words of wisdom and advice that she passed on to the winners.

TalamatesEggman

StudentsRegisteringNext, Assemblymember Gonzalez spoke with students about her efforts to increase political participation among youth – including a bill she is authoring to lower the voting age for some elections to 16. In addition, Continue reading

And the winners are…

In 2014, LegiSchool introduced an editorial cartoon contest into our portfolio of civic education opportunities, and the response we received was overwhelmingly positive. So, we’ve made the contest an annual affair!

Each year, we partner with KQED’s The Lowdown to invite high school students to express their opinions on current issues by creating an original editorial cartoon. The purpose of the contest is to incite critical thinking on contemporary issues by young people in our state. Winning entries receive cash prizes and are published on the KQED website.

Students were allowed to submit a cartoon based on any issue that is relevant to California this year. As you can see from the results, Continue reading