Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on May 17th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 11

CANARY: Future leaders of 'Merica'


Apparently Santa Maria’s Future Leaders of America (FLA) members do have what it takes to be the politicians and lobbyists of tomorrow: unwillingness to compromise, apathy to opposing views, and they’re rude! So proud.

The local FLA chapter hosted a forum on May 13 about university entrance requirements (called A-Gs) and the local students who aren’t meeting them. More than three-quarters of local graduates aren’t eligible to apply to four-year universities in the state.

Way to prep students for their future, guys! Students with the FLA have been riled up about it, as well they should be. However, this recent forum was essentially a repeat of the one they had last year. Students shared startling data (ooooh!), sad stories about peers who don’t even know what A-Gs are (ahhhh!), and the same idea for a solution: aligning graduation and university entrance requirements.

FLA vilified counselors and teachers (booo!), and made it seem like the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District has ignored students’ cries for help (hiss!).

But when Diana Perez, a school district board member, walked up to the mic at the end of the May 13 presentation and started to speak, Jesse Funes, president of the House of Pride and Equality, repeatedly shouted “We need a resolution!” like a lunatic. Rude!

Perez tried to continue on as gracefully as possible. She said that while she’s a big believer in high standards for students, the A-Gs issue is complex, and—. Well, we’ll never know what she was going to say because an FLA student unplugged Perez’s microphone. Way to engage with solutions!

Her peers joined in, stepping in front of Perez, telling attendees the show was over. How cute! They’ve been taking notes on Trump’s tactics.

Perez has spent her entire career trying to help the very students they’re supposedly fighting for. She now serves as the director of the Central Coast Cal-SOAP Consortium at Allan Hancock College, a program designed to increase the number of first-generation students attending college.

She’s on your side, kids! Not that the adults there cared. After the Kanye-esque mic debacle, the Sun asked FLA Executive Director Eder Gaona-Macedo what he thought. He said the presentation was supposed to be a safe space for students to share their thoughts.

I get it. You don’t care about solutions!

If you want change, there’s no such thing as a “safe space.” Policy solutions take actual engagement—yes, that includes those who disagree with you—and collaboration. And if not at the A-Gs meeting, then when? When will you shut up, step up, and actually meet with the district? Interim Superintendent John Davis told the Sun that FLA has never reached out to him to talk about A-Gs.

FLA Executive Director Gaona-Macedo refuted that, and sent the Sun a letter he emailed to the district a week prior. The FLA has been bitching about this for at least a year!

If you really want change, you need to request meetings, go to their offices and knock down their doors. And if you do ever meet with them, at least let them talk. If you can’t handle a little opposition, maybe you’re not such a future leader.

The Canary is betting that these future leaders are going to hate “the media” now, too. Get in line. Send your thoughts to

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