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Morgan Hill
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December 2, 2022

Live Oak’s ag academy visits state Capitol

Senior members of the Live Oak High High-Tech Agricultural
Science Academy, better known as HTASA, had an opportunity to
observe state government at work on a recent trip to Sacramento,
the first field trip for the HiTASA in its three-year
existence.
Senior members of the Live Oak High High-Tech Agricultural Science Academy, better known as HTASA, had an opportunity to observe state government at work on a recent trip to Sacramento, the first field trip for the HiTASA in its three-year existence.

“This wasn’t my first visit to Sacramento but my first visit to the Capitol building,” said Rudy Landeros, one of 65 students and six teachers who made the trip. “We had a chance to talk to some of the people and ask them what they thought of the other side, like what the Democrats think of the Republicans. We were able to see the different branches of the government and how things worked.”

HTASA Coordinator Vera Gomes said that although both the teachers and the students were “big tourists, taking lots of pictures,” they all discovered there was a lot to be learned.

“We heard three speakers, Tim Colin, the chief consultant for the Assembly on agriculture, Rayne Thompson, of the agriculture council of California, and Pam Giacaomi, the head lobbyist for the farm bureau,” Gomes said last week. “We were able to reserve an actual break-out room that the senators meet in in committees, Room 126 in the old part of the restored building. The Senate had just finished their session, and the students were able to see their local senators. The media was there, and it was all very exciting.”

That the students should make this trip in their senior year, Gomes said, was very appropriate.

“It’s a rite of passage,” she said. “Many of the kids are already 18, or soon will be, and they’re going to be voting on real issues. They will be making decisions on the kinds of things that are being discussed here.”

The students were required to document the trip in an English paper, Gomes said.

HTASA is a small learning community, a subject of much controversy recently with the awarding of an $498,779 grant to Live Oak for the formation of small learning communities. Most of the students have the same government teacher and/or the same English teacher and an agriculture class.

Gomes said she has enjoyed getting to know all the students over the years.

“The neatest thing is bonding for three years with these kids,” she said. “I have watched as their lives changed and they matured. Now many of them will go on to pursue further education; many of them, like Rudy, have a plan for the future.”

Landeros, who said he wants to become a heating and air conditioning professional, is glad he had the opportunity to be a part of HTASA.

“I think it’s good because all the teachers know each other, and they work together to help the students out,” he said.

Yared Galvan, another senior in the program, agreed with Landeros. The best thing about HTASA, she said, is “the fact that the teachers take the time to work with the students.”

“They don’t see us as a whole group, they see us as individuals,” she said. “Any time we need help, they’re available. And they work together to make the program better for us.”

Galvan, who said she plans to go to San Jose State to earn a doctorate in Spanish so she can be a professor, with a minor in graphic design, said she has gained more than just academic knowledge.

“Working with other people, we have learned not to be shy any more about others,” she said. “We have learned things not just related to agriculture. We have also learned about technology and being successful, how to create good resumes and applications for a job, things that you don’t learn other places.”

Landeros said students will meet after the beginning of the year to plan another field trip.

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