For the first time in its six-year history, Santa Clarita’s annual bus ride up to Sacramento numbered two local students among the group of government, school, public works and business leaders.
From March 21-22, Canyon High School juniors Max Archuleta and Zane Patterson were treated to a crash course in state government, soaking in both sides of the issues concerning California’s budget, education, transportation, enterprise zones, redevelopment agencies, mental health programs and water resources.
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The Canyon Country Optimist Club paid for their tickets, citing “the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of young people in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
“I have an interest in law, which obviously has a lot to do with the state legislative process,” said Archuleta. “I did have a decent understanding of the issues before going. My mom is a kindergarten teacher and my dad was a news reporter for a few years. Between my parents I got a good understanding of the topics beforehand.”
Beside eating and sleeping well, a significant portion of the Keith Richman Memorial Sacramento Road Trip – named after the late Assemblyman who helped originate the event with KHTS owner Carl Goldman – consisted of speaker presentations from state politicians.
“I thought it was interesting the way (the politicians) crafted their arguments and put it out to their audience in the way they wanted their audience to hear it,” he said.
Archuleta, who participates in both football and track and field at Canyon in addition to volunteering with the Safe Rides program, was particularly impressed with Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is a Democrat.
“He was speaking to the group, which mostly consisted of Republicans,” said Archuleta. “He was outgoing and enthusiastic and making jokes – everyone was paying attention.”
As the lengthy speaker sessions stacked, Archuleta welcomed the opportunity to tour the cupola of the State Capitol.
“Most of the people didn’t go on the tour – they were still going to meetings,” he said. “We actually got to peek out the top and take pictures, so that was really neat.”
Photo: Zane Patterson, left, Max Archuleta, right (credit: Carol Rock)