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APS officials urge students to get involved, make their voices heard

Just days after midterm elections, high school students met with Albuquerque Public Schools officials to talk politics and civic duty.

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, or SuperSAC, heard from the panel, which also included teachers, a University of New Mexico professor and Board of Education member Candelaria Patterson, on Thursday.

The big message of the day: don’t be indifferent. Get involved.

Nick Estrada, a Volcano Vista High student, asked the panel how younger kids can participate in politics if they aren’t old enough to vote.

John Chavez, Albuquerque High School social studies teacher, encouraged the group to talk to adults and pressure them to exercise their right to vote.

Fiona Kilgore of Albuquerque High School, who is also part of SuperSAC, was used as an example. At the age of 17, she has already started texting campaigns, phone banks and canvassed to get out the vote.

Christine Sierra, UNM emeritus professor, emphasized the important role of teachers to encourage a dialogue and make sure all students and their opinions are heard. She used the March for Our Lives, a national school and gun safety protest, as an example of how powerful students’ voices can be.

The panel also shared tips such as picking up a League of Women Voters’ voting guide or following candidates from both sides of the aisle on social media.

Ultimately, the message from the panel to the group of high schoolers was to get involved in any way, whether that be through student government, community service or talking with their families.

SuperSAC meets monthly and discusses a range of topics throughout the school year. The group is made up of 30 students with the goal of all APS high schools having a representative.

If the students attend 80 percent of the meetings, they get a letter of recommendation from Superintendent Raquel Reedy for colleges or career.

Typically, SuperSAC meets with Reedy, but due to a personal emergency, she couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting.