Opinion
School Climate & Safety Opinion

Student Empowerment in Action

By Anika Nguyenkhoa — March 03, 2020 2 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Editor’s note: In Superintendent Michael Matsuda’s Anaheim Union High School District, students research, produce, present, and edit video talks in a TED Talk format. The teenagers choose the problems and the solutions to highlight. Topics have varied from sexual assault to the importance of the census to climate disruption.

Anika Nguyenkhoa realized her own ability to make change on the Talk stage. “Speaking to an audience beyond the classroom empowers young adults,” she observed. Chelsea Nguyen, a 9th grader at Cypress High School, agreed. After her talk, she “wanted to create change in the world, to speak out, to create awareness in other people, to fix something.”

Students add that the video platform gives them opportunities to develop as citizens and leaders. “I think when students have that voice we can be better, active citizens in democracy,” said Viren Mehta, a 9th grader at Oxford Academy. “And we know how to talk about issues that affect all of us.”

See Also

BRIC ARCHIVE
Jolygon/Getty
School Climate & Safety Opinion I'm a Superintendent. My Students' Activism Is Key to Their Academic Success
Michael Matsuda, March 3, 2020
5 min read

Video Excerpt from Anika’s Talk

Being a first generation Vietnamese-American, my life exists as a tree, with Vietnamese roots grown in American soil: eating spaghetti with chopsticks, translating parent-teacher conferences from English to Vietnamese, and celebrating Thanksgiving with a big bowl of pho. My Vietnamese and American sides co-exist. Like many others, I grew up listening to the stories of my family as they came to America.

In Communist Vietnam, my parents’ lives were invisible. They came to America where their lives mattered, where their lives had meaning, and their lives were counted.

Every 10 years, our government conducts a census with the sole purpose of counting our country’s population, counting all people in all places. Many community institutions, such as hospitals, libraries, and schools, depend on the accuracy of the census as it allows us to receive enough funding to function. As the number of immigrants grow in our communities, the lack of participation has led to an undercount.

The census determines how more than $800 billion in federal resources are spent and distributed every year for the next 10 years. And most importantly, our population determines how much representation our state gets in our government. Filling out the census enforces the fact that the immigrants who had suffered and struggled to establish a home in a nonnative country belong. Filling out the census provides students like me with the right materials and needed funding to ensure a proper education and promising future. Filling out the census recognizes the voices of the underrepresented communities as a whole, not only in our various school districts but throughout Orange County.

As a daughter of immigrants, I encourage you to participate in the upcoming 2020 census. Not only does it give the chance for students like me to live out the American dream my parents had hoped for, but it also brings light to the fact that Vietnamese-American communities and all other immigrants deserve to be counted.

A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2020 edition of Education Week as Student Empowerment in Action: Student Voice in Anaheim

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety 4 Case Studies: Schools Use Connections to Give Every Student a Reason to Attend
Schools turn to the principles of connectedness to guide their work on attendance and engagement.
12 min read
Students leave Birney Elementary School at the start of their walking bus route on April 9, 2024, in Tacoma, Wash.
Students leave Birney Elementary School at the start of their walking bus route on April 9, 2024, in Tacoma, Wash. The district started the walking school bus in response to survey feedback from families that students didn't have a safe way to get to school.
Kaylee Domzalski/Education Week
School Climate & Safety 'A Universal Prevention Measure' That Boosts Attendance and Improves Behavior
When students feel connected to school, attendance, behavior, and academic performance are better.
9 min read
Principal David Arencibia embraces a student as they make their way to their next class at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, Texas on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Principal David Arencibia embraces a student as they make their way to their next class at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, Texas, on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Emil T. Lippe for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Most Teachers Worry a Shooting Could Happen at Their School
Teachers say their schools could do more to prepare them for an active-shooter situation.
4 min read
Image of a school hallway with icons representing lockdowns, SRO, metal detectors.
via Canva
School Climate & Safety Michigan School Shooter's Parents Sentenced to at Least 10 Years in Prison
They are the first parents convicted for failures to prevent a school shooting.
3 min read
Jennifer Crumbley stares at her husband James Crumbley during sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court on April 9, 2024, in Pontiac, Mich. Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, are asking a judge to keep them out of prison as they face sentencing for their role in an attack that killed four students in 2021.
Jennifer Crumbley stares at her husband James Crumbley during sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court on April 9, 2024, in Pontiac, Mich. The parents of Ethan Crumbley, who killed four students at his Michigan high school in 2021, asked a judge to keep them out of prison.
Clarence Tabb Jr./Detroit News via AP