Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Salinas Valley Dream Academy returns from East Coast tour

Whether it's Hernandez v. Texas, Brown v. Board of Education, or Gideon v. Wainwright the Supreme Court is where these landmark cases were all decided. And last week, a group of hardworking Salinas teens had a chance to visit where it all happened.

Members of the Dream Academy, a club started by Alisal High School teacher Ruben Pizarro, took a week-long tour of Washington D.C. and New York City, where they had the opportunity to visit monuments, universities, and even had a debriefing at the White House.

"Academy students are learning that if they fight for what they want, even if it takes some time, justice will prevail," Pizarro said in an email.

During the briefing students from different high schools across Salinas learned about loans and college finances, education, health care, advocacy, immigration reform, among others topics.

Students in the mostly low-income community fundraise for the entire school year to be able to pay for the trip. Although the academy focuses on scholastic efforts such as touring colleges and learning about civic engagement and career opportunities, the main thrust of their efforts is to tour the East Coast and expand their horizons. 

A total of 96 students left for the trip on May 31 and returned June 7. Judging by their photos on Facebook, they had a blast.

Congratulations on another successful trip, Mr. Pizarro. Next time I'm going to have to join you!

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