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 former California State Senator and State Secretary of Education Gary Hart.
Three of the five 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 Union High School District)
- Diana Gonzalez (Galt High School AVID, Galt Joint Union High School District)
- Kelsie Haggard (Sheldon High School AVID, Elk Grove Unified School District)
- Gabriella Isaguirre (Rio Americano High School, San Juan Unified School District)
- Lauren Gomez (Kennedy High School, Sacramento City Unified School District)
The scholarship award event included a personal meeting with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and a public introduction of the students and recognition of their teachers and families by the Senator on the floor of the Senate Chambers at the opening of a legislative session.
Joining SCOE in sponsoring the 2009 Capitol Tours Scholarship Program were School Services of California and School Innovations and Advocacy.