Woodbridge Moves the Classroom to the Courtroom

Students travel to Sacramento to advocate for Irvine-specific educational needs


Photo Courtesy of Avika Patel

Advocacy students gather after the conference.

Photo Courtesy of Avika Patel
Woodbridge students pose in front of the Sacramento capitol.

On March 5, five chosen Irvine students traveled to Sacramento to participate in the annual statewide advocacy trip, representing Irvine in a culminating conference.  This included seniors Megan Kosai and Tomas Castro, along with juniors Avika Patel, Madelyn Knutson and Naomi Hampton.  The group met with politicians as they learned about various education-based policies.

“You get to have a firsthand experience of what goes on in the local, state, and national governments,” Knutson said.

While on the trip, the students met with various policymakers to advocate for several alterations in education, including the addition of potential chess and computer science courses.  They also discussed how politics affects education with Duty Superintendent for Public Instruction Kai Jackson, as well as meeting with several lobbyists and politicians who influence education policy during a discussion on data privacy.  They also met with former Irvine Mayor Stephen Choi and Gov. Jerry Brown.

“You get to have a firsthand experience of what goes on in the local, state, and national governments,” Knutson said.

     Before the trip, the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) selected the five students through an application and selection process.  This involved students writing essays about their background and advocacy passion. Then, they trained the group on various Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) policies over a five-week period.  These included sessions on Proposition 98 and Local Control Formula funding.

“The PTSA prepared us well for the trip and I learned many lessons that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” Castro said.

The students’ participation in the event provided them with an opportunity to learn about how government action affects their own education.

“It’s so inspiring to see us all advocate for various programs and reform we want to see in our education system. It’s also great to see our hard work pay off after meeting for months before the trip,” Kosai said.