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Gonzales student meets with state leaders

SACRAMENTO — Gonzales High School senior Cindy Aguilar recently met with Tony Thurmond, the new state superintendent of public instruction, to speak with him about mental health services for high school students.

Aguilar was one of four student delegates of the U.S. Senate Youth Program who traveled to Sacramento to meet with state officials Jan. 9-10 at the California Department of Education building. This was the first time Aguilar had been to the capital city.

“It was definitely an interesting experience,” Aguilar said. “They really wanted to hear what we had to say.”

Thurmond asked Aguilar what could be improved in the education area, and she talked about mental health services. She felt that these services are something that affects a lot of schools.

“In Gonzales, we only have one social emotional counselor for all three schools,” Aguilar said. “I think that is something that affects a lot of students, especially those who have any type of medical condition.”

Aguilar and Thurmond spoke about the future of mental health services in schools and improving the way school staff interact with students who are dealing with mental health issues.

Accompanying Aguilar on the trip was Gonzales Public Works Director Harold Wolgamott, who has been her adviser since freshman year.

Aguilar is one of two youth delegates from California who will travel to Washington, D.C., in March. The other delegate, Lauren Con from the Los Angeles area, and two alternates traveled with Aguilar for the trip to Sacramento.

In past years, the Senate Youth Program has had the chance to meet the President, and although it might not happen this year, Aguilar thought it would be interesting to meet with President Trump and hear what he would say.

“Gonzales has definitely been a place that I get to express myself, but I’m scared that when I’m around these awesome leaders that I am going to be intimidated,” Aguilar said. “But, I think it’s also going to be great for my development and growth.”