Gema Quetzal: Oakland Unified High School Student Appointed To CA Board of Education By Gov. Brown

Gema Quetzal
Gema Quetzal photo by lacomadre.org

has appointed Life Academy student and Student Member, to the California State (SBE) as the lone youth voice for the 2018-19 school year. This is remarkable news for Oakland Unified School District and the city of Oakland.

The 16-year old Quetzal will serve as the only Student Member alongside ten other Directors on the SBE. Among her responsibilities will be to represent the interests of California’s 6.2 million school children. “I am very humbled, honored and excited,” said Quetzal. “This is a huge responsibility because I will be representing millions of my peers across California. We all share a common goal and that is a quality education for all.

Quetzal has a long history of civic participation, having been on the Governing Board of ’s All City Council (ACC) Student Union since 9th grade. Along with being one of two Student Directors on the , she is also currently a student leader on the District’s Sanctuary District Task Force. Quetzal routinely calls for justice for all students and she has organized her peers to participate in student-led marches on immigrant rights. “With the rise of the new political climate targeting immigrants and Muslims, the most important issue to me today is the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants,” she says.

This work is highly personal for Quetzal. “My closest friends are undocumented and I am the child of two immigrant parents,” she says. “Many young people are frightened to go to school because they feel they are in danger of ICE. That should never be the case! Young people are thinking of staying home instead of thinking of their education.”

By statute, the SBE is the governing and policy-making body of the . Constitutional duties of the SBE include the appointment of one deputy and three associate superintendents upon nomination of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the adoption of textbooks for use in grades one through eight. It also adopts curriculum frameworks in reading/language arts, foreign language, history-social science, health, mathematics, physical education, science, career technical education and the visual and performing arts.

“While I am on the State , a message I want everyone to understand is that community input is important, youth voice is important and youth and adult partnerships are important,” said Quetzal. “But it’s not just talking about issues. We must take action. I feel this is a message that Oakland has always sent, that we take action as a community.”

Superintendent works alongside Quetzal with the . “We could not be more proud of Ms. Quetzal,” she said. “I am sure her qualifications, experiences and passion made her the clear choice to speak for California’s students. And we know that she will bring the heart, brilliance and activist spirit of Oakland and our students to Sacramento.”

Quetzal is grateful for the opportunity. “I want to thank my peers, my teachers, Life Academy, Superintendent , my colleagues on the School Board, Mayor Libby Schaaf, as a whole and my parents and entire family who have been my support and driving force since day one. Without my community, I would not have been able to accomplish this.”

Quetzal assumes her role as Student Member on the State on August 1, 2018.

I am that rare breed: a blogger, and I don’t mean micro.  Follow me on Twitter: Roger Robarts

About the Author

Roger Robarts
I am that rare breed: a blogger, and I don't mean micro.  Follow me on Twitter: Roger Robarts

Open

Close
Real Time Web Analytics