Quincy students attend conference in D.C.
Seeking to improve the lives of people in this Washington, three students from Quincy High School traveled to the other one.
The trio of Quincy High School juniors, Daisy Buenrostro, Elena Lopez and Nora Medina, accompanied by adviser Jeannie Kiehn, visited Washington, D.C., last month as part of the Citizen Washington Focus Conference, hosted every year by 4-H.
The three students are 4-H members and arrived at our nation’s capital carrying a project that can change lives.
The project, which enters its second year this fall, seeks to improve the digital literacy of people in the Quincy Valley, particularly those for whom English is their second language.
The project, sponsored by Microsoft, is called 4-H Tech Changemakers and counts on youth, like the three girls, to teach the basics of computer literacy and safety to people in the area.
“Microsoft forged a partnership with National 4-H Council to help to equip young people with the digital skills and resources they need to make a positive impact in their communities,” said Lisa Karstetter, Microsoft TechSpark manager for Washington state. “It’s encouraging to see these young leaders from our community use what they’ve learned through this partnership with 4-H to advocate for broader access to digital skills, for both students and adults.”
The classes started in Quincy in earnest at the end of 2017.
“It’s a big problem, and we wanted to help combat that problem,” said Medina, referring to digital illiteracy. “In Quincy, there’s a lot of agricultural workers, and they don’t know how to use technology.” Sometimes, this lack of knowledge regarding things like GPS can make people less hire-able or cost them their jobs, she added.
During their trip east, in addition to attending the conference in Chevy Chase, Md., they met in D.C. with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and other lawmakers from Washington, such as U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse.
“They said our project was really interesting and that it was amazing to see youth taking on such a big problem,” Medina said.
Kiehn said it helps the youth like Lopez, Buenrostro and Medina to know that our state’s leaders will listen to them.
“They kept asking questions and want to see it succeed,” Kiehn said, adding that experiences like these will help the students’ self-confidence.
In addition to the three girls who went to D.C., five of their peers helped out teaching the digital literacy class in English and Spanish at Quincy High School.
“The adults in the class are very respectful of the youth teaching the class, so it’s a win-win,” Kiehn said.
The group seeks to teach the classes again next school year, more than likely during the colder months, so more people can attend without affecting their work schedules in orchards and farms.
“Once people take this class and word gets out, we hope it will be a lot better attended,” Kiehn said.
Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org