Students learn how to mobilize for real-world issues

Posted on Feb 26, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Alexandra Abinosa, Daniela Lopez and Zach Espino at the state Capitol for the Secondary Student Conference.

Alexandra Abinosa, Daniela Lopez and Zach Espino at the state Capitol for the Secondary Student Conference.

“Be a voice, not an echo.” Those words sum up the annual Secondary Student Conference (SSC), where student leaders from the state’s public high schools learn about the legislative process. The goal? To show young people how to make their voices heard on issues they care about.

“This conference shows we can have a big impact because we can push real legislative bills that are important to us,” said Daniela Lopez, a Campbell High senior who is also the student representative to the state Board of Education. “We teach delegates how to do research and testify  at hearings.” Alexandra Abinosa, a Farrington High senior and this year’s SSC chair, added, “As future leaders, it’s important we learn how to make changes for the better.”

Governor and Mrs. Ige talked with the students about Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has galvanized people about the threat of climate change. “This is really about your future,” said the governor. “In today’s global society, a single person can make a difference.” Mrs. Ige reminded the students that she and the governor are both proud public school graduates — she from Campbell High and he from Pearl City High. “We believe in the work you’re doing through this program,” she said. “Leadership is about service and empowering others.” Zach Espino learned that lesson as a 2014 SSC delegate who now works in the governor’s office. “Students should know the Legislature is open to them to get involved,” he said.

Read more in the March Capitol Connection newsletter

Subscribe to the Capitol Connection newsletter