Throughout the day high school and college students from across Washington could be seen crossing The Evergreen State College campus to engage with elected officials and workshop speakers at the Washington State TRiO Conference.
The morning opened with a welcome address by President Purce who introduced the opening keynote U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-6th). Kilmer spoke to his own journey and encouraged the audience to be engaged in their education and communities.
Students spent the remainder of the morning participating in break-out sessions on a range of topics such as civic leadership, selecting and financing the right college, and internships.
The lunch hour was focused on remarks by Washington State Representative Chris Reykdal (22nd District). Reykdal spoke to his personal story and pathway. He encouraged students to speak up and participate in their communities. In addition students heard from Luis Ortega, Founder of Power to Define who spoke of the importance and value of education.The day closed out with a legislative panel of state leaders including Representatives Kathy Haigh (35th District), Hans Zeiger (25th District), Sam Hunt (22nd District) and JT Wilcox (2nd District). The panel addressed the question, As a state representative you have the ability to influence policy and legislation that directly affect the K-12 and higher education system. If you could see into the future what are you greatest hopes and fears for the state of education? How will the students in this audience be affected by either possible outcome? The panelists spoke to the value of engagement by students in the legislative process and the importance of participating at the local, state and national levels. The panel took questions from the audience ranging from internships to concerns about the number of young people in the prison system.
The day concluded with closing remarks from U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10th). Heck spoke of his own commitment to service and expressed the need for young people to find what drives them and to share their passions.