By: Sara Ho, Bellaire, 2016
On March 22, 2015, 100 people clad in stylish blue Student Congress t-shirts gathered in the parking lot of the Hattie Mae White building in the wee hours of the morning. Two full yellow school buses carted everyone, two or three to a seat, from Houston to the State Capitol in Austin.
After everyone exited the bus, we were recognized by the State Senate. Group pictures with important people followed. Thanks to Senator Sylvia Garcia, Senator John Whitmire, Senator Senforia Thompson, Senator Rodney Ellis, and Representative Jim Murphy! HISD board member and former president Juliet Stipeche and current president Rhonda Skillern Jones followed along with us too. After a break for lunch, we watched the Texas 84th legislature at work in the House, and we were recognized again. (We’re so famous.)
Later, we met in the Agricultural Museum inside the capitol building to have Q&A sessions with some awesome people who had the time to meet with us. Thanks to the following people for speaking with us (and for taking selfies with us afterwards)!
- Sen. John Whitmire
- Sen. Rodney Ellis
- Sen. Sylvia Garcia
- Rep. Senfronia Thompson
- Rep. Sylvester Turner
- Rep. Harold Dutton
- Rep. Armando Walle
- Rep. Alma Allen
- Rep. Gene Wu
- Rep. Ana Hernandez
- Rep. Jessica Farrar
- Rep. Debbie Riddle
- Rep. Gilbert Pena
We learned a lot about infrastructure, education, and government funding, among many other things. We also wrote letters to everyone we met afterwards on our three issues: truancy decriminalization, increased pre-K funding, and Chapter 41 public school funding equalization.
After some minor bus issues, we returned home to Houston safe and sound, after a quick stop at Buc-ee’s, of course. Shout out to Austin ISD for lending us a bus!
Special thanks to Ashlea Graves from Governmental Relations and Susan Kaler from the Student Support Office for helping us organize the trip!
Find pictures from the trip on HISDStuCon’s Facebook page.