Kathya Correa Almanza, a senior at June Jordan High School for Equity, is one of the two 2020-21 SFUSD student delegates. Being a member of the Student Advisory Council (SAC), she was inspired by the encouragement of her peers to take on the position of representing all 55,000 SFUSD students. While it was not an easy decision to make from the beginning, she realized that advocating for change was something she was passionate about. As a student delegate, she sees this as an opportunity to “put [herself] out of [her] comfort zone and overcome fears,” which is an extremely important characteristic when considering what makes a strong leader. Not only is she dedicated to being a student delegate, but also many other leadership roles outside the school district. From being a varsity policy debater, she learned about the system of government, as well as understanding community and bringing out the voices of the people. As a student delegate, she is able to apply the same skills to voicing out the thoughts and opinions of the students in our district. “The perspective and unique role that the student delegate plays is extremely important because without them, it would be hard to make the right decisions that would positively impact the students of SFUSD,” shares Kathya. Although her time is limited, she hopes to pass and resolve as many problems that will “leave a positive mark” during her time as a student delegate.
Along with Kathya is Shavonne Hines-Foster, a senior at Lowell High School. As someone who has a strong interest in representing others, she holds a position in the Student Advisory Council, Lowell’s Student Body Government, is the president of Lowell’s Black Student Union (BSU), and is a census ambassador. Seeing conflicts relating to injustice and inequality that came up within our school district, and even experiencing acts of racism and unfair treatment herself, she was inspired to run for student delegate to make a change, and stand up for both herself and others. Being a student of color, she understands the importance of letting everyone be heard and share their thoughts out loud. She sees the role of being a student delegate as a way to “bridge the gap between students and administrators.” She emphasizes that there is often a lack of communication when students are not given new initiatives and chances to speak up, but, as her responsibility as a student delegate, she connects the two to where everyone is on the same page. “It is my job to bring all your problems and concerns to the Board of Education and push for efforts of change,”she says. Not only does she strive to make a difference, but also to prove that youth are capable of improving society, as she says “some of the greatest movements were led by students.”
While there are a myriad of issues that need to be addressed, change takes time to achieve. Correa Almanza and Hines-Foster have been working on “SFUSD Speaks Out,” which is a project dedicated to collecting student experiences of sexual assault, harrassment, racism, homophobia, etc., in order to pioneer change in these areas, and prevent further experiences from happening. With sexual violence being a major issue in school communities, their main focus right now is to ensure that all students feel safe at school, and are taught the importance of consent and protection. Aside from that, other issues of attention include a Black Lives Matter resolution, mental health support for students, and a more equitable curriculum. While it may seem a lot, both Correa Almanza and Hines-Foster are determined to change our school district for the better, along with the help of all SFUSD students. As Correa Almanza said, being a student delegate is not a win for her and Hines-Foster, but a win for all of us.
Feel free to reach out to both of them with any concerns, opinions, or thoughts you might have:
Kathya Correa Almanza