Five Sacramento County high school students received college scholarships during a special ceremony on June 22 at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The event was the culmination of the Capitol Tours Program, sponsored in part by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and organized by Gary Hart, a former California State Senator and State Secretary of Education.
Three of the scholarship recipients are AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students, enrolled in an elective and school-wide program that promotes increased college eligibility and access to a rigorous curriculum. The AVID elective offers students a clear-cut path to college, beginning in their middle school years. Area sites and districts receive support from the Capital Region AVID Center based at SCOE.
The Capitol Tours Program consisted of a series of six-hour tours on which students learned about the history and architecture of the State Capitol, and received an overview of the legislative and judicial processes. During the tours, students observed legislative floor and committee sessions. They also had the opportunity to meet with legislators, legislative staff, lobbyists, and appellate court justices from the 3rd District Court of Appeals.
In addition to engaging in subsequent classroom discussions and reflective exercises, every student was invited to participate in an essay contest based on their Capitol Tour experience.
Of the 300 students who submitted essays, five were chosen to receive $500 scholarships. The winning students were:
- Amanda Cantos (Galt High School AVID, Galt Joint UHSD)
- Diana Gonzalez (Galt High School AVID, Galt Joint UHSD)
- Kelsie Haggard (Sheldon High School AVID, Elk Grove USD)
- Gabriella Isaguirre (Rio Americano High School, San Juan USD)
- Lauren Gomez (Kennedy High School, Sacramento City USD)
The scholarship presentation included a personal meeting with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The senator publicly introduced the students on the floor of the Senate Chambers at the opening of the legislative session, also recognizing their teachers and families.
Joining SCOE in sponsoring the Capitol Tours Scholarship Program were School Services of California and School Innovations and Advocacy.