Los Angeles First Graders Traveled to Sacramento to Shine Spotlight on Solar Power

Media Contacts

Sen. Kevin de León and Asm. Jimmy Gomez Joined Students in Embracing Clean Energy

Environment California Research & Policy Center

State Capitol–Dozens of children from the Betty Plasencia Elementary and Plasencia Magnet School in Los Angeles traveled to Sacramento today to demonstrate their support for solar power in California.

Holding signs reading “I Heart Solar Power” and “Go Solar CA,” the children held back-to-back events with Sen. Kevin de León and Assemblymember Gomez to rally for solar power, clean air, and environmental responsibility. Before a crowd gathered under the Capitol Rotunda, the children sang “Here Comes the Sun” and “Solar Power to the People,” conveying their vision for California, including Los Angeles, to be powered by clean energy.

“I ask that our state politicians continue their support of renewable energy so that my friends and I can have even cleaner air!” said Betty Plasencia first grader Isaiah Frias.

The first grade students thanked their state leaders for making commitments to solar power and urged them to continue to bring more solar power to the Golden State.

“Solar power is a no-brainer for California,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “These first-graders get it. California policy makers should continue to keep California, including Los Angeles, growing with solar energy.”

The students were joined by their elected representatives in the state capitol including Senator Kevin de Leon and Assembly member Jimmy Gomez.

Addressing the children, Senator Kevin de León said, “Your songs and your passion make you role models for all of us to fight for a clean environment. Your message will help create more jobs for moms and dads out of work because clean energy projects create jobs.”

“I applaud the work of these young students,” said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez whose district includes the children’s neighborhood. “It is appropriate that tomorrow’s leaders embrace the emerging technologies that will power tomorrow’s homes and economies.”

Today’s events were the culmination of a yearlong, project-based curriculum undertaken by the first grade students to determine how they can reduce their own carbon footprint by making changes in their own lives and in their community. 

“In our classroom discussions, we talked about how solar energy is clean and safe, and I explained the whole process of how it’s collected by solar panels,” said Sandra Proano-Montañez, a first grade teacher at Plasencia. “The children just lit up! Knowing it’s clean, and even saves money, made these kids realize that this is a smart solution to a real life problem.”

The students started the year by making a video “The Solution is in the Sky,” that won third place in an Environment California Research & Policy Center sponsored video contest. They are now completing the year by taking their knowledge and calls for more clean solar power to their elected officials.

“The students of Plasencia have clearly responded to the demands of the 21st century that require each student not only to find their voice as they solve real life problems, but also to empower themselves to be active and responsible members of our society,” said Claudia Vela, also a first grade teacher at Plasencia.

“Our students should feel pride knowing that they are tackling a real life issue and have exercised their civic duty,” said Julie Gonzalez, principal of Plasencia Elementary School.

This trip to Sacramento comes a week after the children and hundreds of their schoolmates rallied for more solar power in front of Los Angeles City Hall and were invited inside to share their clean energy vision with the Los Angeles City Council.