ThunderRidge Student Urges Legislature to Make 2013 the Year of the Student

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By Sue Catterall; Field Organizer, Great Education Colorado
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On July 25, ThunderRidge High School students remarked at the statewide educators conference, hosted by the Colorado Association of School Executives. Click here to view the video.

What is the Year of the Student?

Watch as ThunderRidge student, Hayley Stromberg, describes the Year of the Student to an audience of 1,000 school district leaders from across Colorado at the annual 2012 CASE Education Leaders Convention in Breckenridge.

Hayley’s brief speech speaks volumes about why we have to demand that next year's legislature makes 2013 the Year of the Student. Below is the text from Hayley’s speech.

COMMENTS OF HAYLEY STROMBERG

CASE Education Leaders Convention, Breckenridge, July 2012

“Thank you so much.  I am honored to have this opportunity today, to speak to you on behalf of students throughout Colorado who are feeling the impact of state school cuts, year after year. 

My name is Hayley Stromberg.  I’m going to be a ninth-grader next year at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch.  The cuts to my middle school were so alarming to me, that I started the Douglas County Kid campaign last year to fight for better school funding. I also have a Facebook page called Douglas County Kid Campaign 2012 and I would love if all of you could go like it for all the support.

I started it because of growing class sizes and cuts in electives. 

I started it because I think the perception of this generation is that we’re careless, ignorant and disrespectful, but in reality we are committed, engaged and wanting to further our education.  It’s the cuts that are getting in our way.

Since I started the Kid Campaign, I’ve met students from all over the state.  For instance, I met a student from Yuma, where advanced courses in high school are few and far between.  I met a student from Aurora who had only one textbook to take home in four years of high school and who had classes where there weren’t enough desks for all the students. 

All of three of us happen to be older sisters – and we’re frightened at how much worse the cuts will be for our little brothers and sisters.

One thing is for sure: Colorado’s school funding problem isn’t going to solve itself.  Somebody has to DO something about it.

I’m happy to tell you today, that a lot of people ARE doing something about it. Together.

Maybe you’ve heard about it already.  It’s called the “2013: Year of the Student” Project.

It’s a growing coalition of – so far -- thousands of individuals and over 75 organizations (including the Kid Campaign, Great Education Colorado, Colorado PTA, the Rural Schools Caucus and a number of local school boards).  We are standing up together to demand that next year’s legislature make better funding of our schools their first priority.

We’re making an urgent call to action to next year’s legislature -- to make 2013 the “Year of the Student,” by using the 2013 legislative session to create and find funding for a public education finance system that matches reforms, mandates and accountability measures with the resources necessary to make all students successful.

Maybe you’re wondering: what can the legislature do?

Well, they can do the same thing my parents and teachers tell me to do when I’ve got a tough assignment or a problem to figure out. 

Think outside the box. 

Listen carefully and ask lots of questions. 

Take responsibility. 

Be a problem solver. 

Don’t make excuses.

Ask for help when you need it.

And most important: Don’t give up just because something is hard, especially if it’s the right thing to do. 

That’s all the Year of the Student is about: asking our leaders to roll up their sleeves and work together to fix this problem.

Because if they don’t, it’s students who keep paying the price.

Thank you so much for your time.  I hope next year at your convention you will be celebrating real progress on school funding.”

Intrigued?

Find out more at the 2013: Year of the Student’ Project website, then join the movement to make 2013 the Year of the Student!

State leaders will do right by kids when tens of thousands of us demand it!