Rep. Speier shares life experiences, motivates students at Sequoia assembly

Maddie Pei, Managing Editor

House of Representative member Jackie Speier of California’s 14th district visited Sequoia High School on Election Day, Nov. 8. Speier used the assembly, which convened in Carrington hall, to give an account of her life and encourage students to become politically active and to take advantage of opportunities.

To begin her visit, Speier conducted a mock election, asking the audience to raise their hands in support of their chosen candidate. Speier paralleled the audience’s overwhelming support for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and expressed her own hopes for a first female president.

“Just think of what you would do if you knew you [couldn’t] fail. We live each day with hesitation because we are afraid of failure. Don’t throw away the opportunities you have at Sequoia with teachers and parents who love you and care about you,” Rep. Speier said.

Speier also described her life story, sympathizing with students’ college worries and detailing the tragedies that she experienced. As an aide to former Congressman Leo Ryan, she survived five gunshot wounds to her right side. During this attempt on her life in 1978, Ryan and other staff members were killed. Just fifteen years later, Speier lost her husband in an automobile accident in 1994.

“It’s amazing how she survived such a tragic event, and it’s hard to believe how she persisted and became such an amazing woman,” freshman Grace Hughes said.

Amidst tragedy and setbacks, Speier encouraged students to persevere in the face of failure. Recounting the loss her first election and a disappointing rejection letter from Stanford, she stressed the importance of grit.

Throughout her speech, Speier reiterated students’ abundant potential and capabilities.

“You should care about [politics] because it’s all about you,” Speier said in an exclusive interview with the Raven Report. “[Youth] needs to be a part of the changes that need to be made. You need to know that it’s your world.”