Building the leaders of tomorrow

Student Advocacy Conference to host virtual session at BVH


Nicole Macgaffey

The BVH CASC Club held a conference on March 5 to discuss the upcoming Student Advocacy Conference on March 13th. The meeting was run by BVH CASC Club President and Development Committee Assistant Director for the CASC Region 12 Cabinet Analia Vega.

Nicole Macgaffey, News Editor

On the front line of change in student education, the California Association of Student Councils (CASC) is working towards building the leaders of tomorrow. CASC is set on giving students a voice in their own education and gives a platform to create a better educational experience for everyone in their community. 

CASC is scheduled to hold a Student Advocacy Conference (SAC) on March 13 over Zoom to give students from the Region 12 district the opportunity to create and present policy proposals to their local representatives in San Diego and Imperial Valley. The Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) has partnered with CASC to give scholarships to students who sign up for the conference. The scholarship will allow the first 100 students to register to go to the conference for free. 

“The district is really supportive of student voices. They want to hear our student voices and hopefully make real changes from student opinions and student expressions,” CASC Region 12 President Diane Escarieses said. 

The conference will cover 10 topics: civil rights, LGBTQIA+, mental health, post high school readiness, digital divide, racial equity, mental health, sexual assault, restorative practices and civil engagement. At the conference, students can choose a topic that they are interested in and will be guided through the process with a staff member creating policy proposals. 

“[The conference] is a great way for students to be involved [in general] and be involved with policies and district decision making. [They’re] honestly really fun conferences,” Escarieses said. “[The conferences are] student run and student led [there], no teachers or advisors who are telling you what to do. It’s really a safe environment for all students.” 

Bonita Vista High (BVH) CASC Club President and Development Committee Assistant Director for the CASC Region 12 cabinet and junior Analia Vega expressed how these conferences have allowed her to meet many new people and forge new connections. Escarieses detailed that students have the chance to develop their leadership and communication skills. She also mentioned that the conference is a way to interact and collaborate with peers about a common interest and develop that ability.

“It will empower you [and] make you feel like you actually can make real changes. I feel like I have the power in my hands to change my own education,” Escarieses said. “That’s how students will feel when they step into these conferences, and afterwards you just feel good.” 

It will empower you [and] make you feel like you actually can make real changes. I feel like I have the power in my hands to change my own education.”

— CASC Region 12 President Diane Escarieses

Students will also be able to get community service for the hours they attend the conference. Member of the governmental affairs and Policy Committee for CASC Batya Bimstein brought up how going to the conference looks favorably for college admissions, though she emphasized that this should not be the main motive for attending. Bimstein mentioned how the fulfillment of the conference comes from knowing that your voice made a difference within California education systems. Furthermore, she said the conference allows for initiatives from conferences involving all of California to be implemented on a local level and create more personalized solutions to issues specific to the San Diego area. 

“[The panelists] probably are going to that connection of ‘Yes, I definitely see this in my daily life. We need to pass this right now.’ It’s more local and personalized making the solutions more effective and less broad,” Bimstein said. 

Vega believes that there is a lot of value students can get out of the conference and sees it as a great opportunity for all students. Bimstein highlighted how this conference raises awareness of issues in the community and encourages attendees to propose solutions.

“Whether kids feel like [these issues are] impacting them or not, it’s always going to impact us whether it be directly or indirectly,” Bimstein said. “A big part of being in CASC is that mindset of whether you feel it’s not a huge issue for you, it’s an issue for someone else. Being able to have a role in helping other people [that are] more disadvantaged— it’s a privilege being able to be in that position and having the voice to speak for others and get their input. It’s very crucial to get many points of views and think outside of yourself.”