Student Congress members share their concerns with state legislators

Nine HISD students travel to Austin over spring break to make their voices heard

Nine students from various HISD high schools got a chance to influence Texas law last week when they traveled to Austin on March 17 for a visit to the state capitol.

The trip offered high-schoolers a behind-the-scenes look at the law-making process and a chance to express their concerns about various issues to state legislators.

Carnegie Vanguard High School seniors Raquel Douglas and David Valerio spoke with the staff of almost 20 representatives, focusing particular attention on members of the Public Education Committee.

“Anneliese Vogel, chief of staff to Representative Alma Allen, seemed really interested in our opposition to Chapter 41,” said Douglas. “If HISD’s funding is negatively affected, we lose teachers, and the quality of our education goes down. And if we don’t get more kids into Pre-K, they are statistically more likely to read below grade level, thus lowering their chances of success.”

“The mini-internships were an amazing experience,” added Furr High School junior Pierre Davison. “I had the pleasure of interning with John Frullo and his communications director. This trip was a wonderful opportunity.”

Participating students also took part in a capitol scavenger hunt and got to watch HISD Director of Governmental Relations Ashlea Graves and Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Secretary Paula Harris in action.

“This trip gives students insight into how laws and polices that directly affect their lives are made—and in many cases, negotiated,” said Skillern-Jones. “They also get to see all the steps along the way and start to appreciate the gravity of the work. It’s not just a simple process. Just being in that atmosphere, in those hallowed halls charged with the intensity of lawmaking, is an invaluable experience.”

The spring break trip was funded by the district, but coordinated through Jack and Jill, Inc.