In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda visited sixth-graders at Newhall Elementary School to discuss his journey to public service and the power of representation.
“I get to talk to and inspire, and hopefully influence young people,” Miranda said. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of good role models. I remember the first time I saw a Latino in a suit and tie in my neighborhood. I knew I wanted to be like him.”
Approximately 98% Hispanic and Latino students comprise Newhall Elementary, said Jackeline Tapia, principal of the school. Angelica Huato-Nelson, a sixth-grade teacher, wanted to host an event for Hispanic Heritage Month, and she invited Miranda because he’s the city’s first Hispanic mayor.
“In our first unit in the language arts curriculum we learn about different types of government, and why different people have different types of government,” Huato-Nelson said. “We learned about our municipality, our five City Council members, and about Mr. Miranda and how he helps develop our community.”
She said when her students learned about Miranda, they had the realization to see themselves in him.
“They can relate to it, and that was important especially since we wrapped up that unit,” Huato-Nelson said. “It’s what they learned that they can actually connect to their real life.”
A panel of seven sixth-graders, one from each class, asked Miranda questions. Some asked him personal questions about his favorite foods, his inspiration in pursuing a career in public service, and others asked him how he hopes to change his community.
At the end of the question-and-answer session, students presented the mayor with a Newhall Elementary School T-shirt, and a framed piece of art for his office.
Keren Ruiz, a sixth-grader at Newhall Elementary School and a student council representative for her peers, said she learned a lot from Miranda’s visit.
“Miranda is a mayor who helps and inspires people,” Ruiz said. “I hope to do the same thing one day.”