EUGENE, Ore. -- Senator Ron Wyden visited the students of North Eugene High School on Wednesday, May 30, to talk about issues they feel are plaguing our schools as part of a program called Listening to the Future.
Senator Wyden said he was very impressed with the thoughtful and eloquent questions the students presented. He said they covered many topics he expected and brought up some he didn’t, but that made him stop and think.
Wyden said this is an important program because it allows the leaders and policy-makers of today an opportunity to listen to and learn from the leaders of tomorrow.
"Some of the most creative solutions, when you have these tired debates that don't seem to go anywhere, come from students,” Wyden said.
The most popular topics students wanted to discuss were the issues of mental health and gun violence. Overall, the students said they just wanted more transparency and access when it comes to mental health resources, and they wanted more protective measures to keep them safe from gun violence.
Another popular topic was DACA and what’s going to happen to the undocumented students.
But students also brought up a couple other issues, like school lunches and the idea of teachers being able to share their opinions more openly with students.
Students said they also appreciated this opportunity to share ideas with a state leader because it allowed them to get their foot in the door and start making a change.
"I mean, especially now, we've noticed the youth are rising up and speaking about what they think about and what they believe,” said Jessica Cruz, a senior at North Eugene. “I think that having us being the future, it's important for us to talk about what we want our future to look at."