DATE:           June 24, 2013 

CONTACT:     Liz Kohn, Interim Project Director for TRiO Talent Search,

                   Shasta College                                  

                   (530) 242-7691



North State Students Travel to Washington D.C. for Leadership Conference

Washington, DC-- On June 8–13, 2013, the Council for Opportunity held its 24th Annual National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC). This year’s event brought 150 Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, and Talent Search students from 25 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam to Washington, DC. Participants (or delegates) in NSLC are rising juniors or seniors who are nominated by their TRIO Directors because of their leadership potential. This year, the Shasta College TRiO Talent Search program chose Bella Hedtke, from Trinity High School, and Uriel Nieves-Cruz, from West Valley High School, to participate. Both students will be graduating next year with the Class of 2014.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our aspiring leaders and students considering a major in political science,” said Interim Project Director, Liz Kohn, “exposing our students to all of the opportunities available to them is our goal.”

During their week in Washington, the students stayed at American University and participated in an interactive workshop on conflict resolution, attended discussions about college, visited the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, went on a historical and cultural tour of Washington, DC, and attended a performance at the Kennedy Center. On Tuesday, the students went to Capitol Hill to visit their Members of Congress and advocate for their TRIO programs.

“I got to see the memorials that I always heard about, and they are so much more powerful in person, “ said Bella Hedtke, 16, of Weaverville, CA, “once I saw the hub of politics, I realized that is what I want to do in the future.”

One of the highlights of NSLC is the Mock Congress which is designed to extend the values of democracy and citizen participation by engaging the students in activities that address current issues of concern, increase their analytical skills to successfully prioritize important issues and courses of action, and gain a better understanding of the legislative process. In the Mock Congress, the students examine current issues and discuss viewpoints for and against the issue. They must research, write, debate, and develop bills of legislation. The steps of the process are similar to those in Congress itself. Students examine the topic, select a subtopic for the subcommittee, research and craft the bill in subcommittee, sponsor debate of the merits of the bill, complete final mark up on the bill to be ready for full floor reading and voting, and present the bill to the full “Congress”. 

Uriel’s team presented on the Dream Act and won first place.  “I learned that TRiO brings everyone together and that even though we come from different backgrounds, we share the common interest of continuing our education so our nation can prosper,” said Uriel Nieves-Cruz, 16 of Cottonwood, CA.

Some of the bills introduced this year included violence in video games, whether privacy in social media should be protected, the question of whether school cafeterias contribute to the nation’s obesity problem, and same sex marriage. The students enjoyed the research involved in preparing thmeselves to argue both sides of the issue.

The week concluded with a leadership banquet, a Showtime at TRIO Talent Show, and a dance.