A Kofa High senior now has a voice on student issues at the state level.
Isaac Navarrete has recently joined the Student Advisory Council for Kathy Hoffman, Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.
As one of 20 students from across the state that were chosen for the 2021-22 school year, Navarrete will be able to discuss school issues and provide feedback on agendas that Hoffman and other education leaders present on a quarterly basis.
“Most of it is really just providing input, collaborating, giving our opinions and just really asking questions because usually, we don’t have the opportunity to go ask the state superintendent [questions],” he told the Yuma Sun.
The Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) website explains that the Student Advisory Council was created to center students’ voices and improve K-12 education in the state. Students range from fifth to 12th grade, and are required to be in good academic standing.
As Kofa’s student body president, Navarrete also serves a similar role in an advisory committee for Yuma Union High School District Superintendent Gina Thompson. It is his second year in the position, an unusual accomplishment for a Kofa student. Comparing the experiences, Navarrete expressed an appreciation for the wider range of diversity in ages, genders and ethnicities he encounters at the state level.
“It’s awesome to be a part of something [bigger] and work with others in Arizona,” he said. “I think, sometimes, in Yuma County, we get a little neglected and not included. But I’m really proud to use this opportunity to represent my school and my community.”
ADE Project Manager Sophia Mayberry shared with YUHSD some of the reasons why Navarrete was selected: “Great passion, prior experience with Yuma Superintendent Student Advisory Committee, advocacy, fundraising, and public speaking skills, current Student Body President [and] wants to represent Yuma and neighboring cities to ensure they have a voice and seat at the decision-making table.”
The advocacy and fundraising that Mayberry referred to go beyond his efforts as student body president. In addition to creating public service announcements to support health and safety, Navarrete organized a fundraiser for members of the Class of 2021 who couldn’t afford their cap and gowns.
The fundraiser had been a solo effort where Navarrete created a form for students to submit, no questions asked, and paid for their graduation garments with the money raised. Having raised $4,300, he was able to help 20 seniors and has funds left over to continue the effort this year.
With these experiences, Navarrete shared that he hopes to someday become a politician or more precisely, a public advocate.
“I really wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of my family and my friends, my community and people around me that you see everyday,” he said. “I’m really excited to take this journey.”
Applications for the 2022-2023 school year’s student advisory council are expected to open in the spring. For more information, visit https://www.azed.gov/adeinfo/student-advisory-council.
Sisko J. Stargazer can be reached at 928-539-6849 or firstname.lastname@example.org.