In Praise of an Inclusive Education

Classrooms Hold the Gift of Opportunity

Taking part in the Inclusive Education Rally on October 8, 2022, were a number of people running for elected office: from left, Gabe Escobedo, Santa Barbara school board; Charlotte Gullap-Moore, S.B. City College trustee; Ethan Bertrand and Emily Zacarias, Goleta school board; and at far right, Rose Muñoz, S.B. school board. Next to Muñoz are students Mitzi Ojendis and Dawson Kelly. | Credit: Courtesy

I am a proud supporter of Ethnic Studies and consistent mental health education in our schools. I was the student board member for the Santa Barbara Unified School District last year, and throughout my time on the board I have seen firsthand the value that a proper education has on the lives of our students:

when Inspiration, Opportunity, Communication, Grit and Relationships are cultivated in an inclusive learning environment
a place where students are given equal opportunities to succeed regardless of circumstances beyond the classroom
a place where cultures and backgrounds are turned into super powers
where your mental health is not only acknowledged but your wellness is encouraged
where the home you were born into does not prevent you from getting the proper school supplies you need to succeed.

Our classrooms must be the foundation that opportunity is built on.

We need people in charge of our education system who will be on the forefront of creating this inclusive foundation. People who are not afraid to put up a fight in the pursuit for what is right.

They know that the outcomes we produce will change when our system does. They keep our classes safe for students from the Westside to Montecito, from San Roque to Goleta. An awareness instilled in them that an inclusive education can be the difference between a tribulation and a triumph.

Our futures are written by the stories we listen to
Our hearts are full by the people we talk to
Our democracy is upheld by the education we teach to.

We can be the change if we are willing to see it, speak it, and seek it.

Dawson Kelly wrote this speech for the rally and is president of the Associated Student Body at San Marcos High School this year.


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