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 Principal Camille Lara said this long “field trip” had a strong effect on the students.

 “To give these young students a chance to learn first-hand about state government, to meet state legislators and watch government in action is an opportunity we are proud to provide,” said Lara. “The impact a trip like this has on our students can’t be underestimated and it’s important for us to teach them and give them the tools necessary to be responsible citizens.”

 An early morning flight to Sacramento got the students into the Capitol in time to be introduced to the State Assembly members as their first session of the week was called to order.  With many of the students hailing from the 67th Assembly District, Assemblywoman Melendez hosted them.

 “We have a responsibility as adults, leaders and lawmakers to give the students of our state every opportunity to learn,” said Melendez, who makes her home in Lake Elsinore and formerly served on the Lake Elsinore City Council. 

 Along with a VIP tour of the historic capitol building, the visiting students met the Speaker of the Assembly, John Perez, toured the beautiful Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament across the street from the Capitol and sat through an hour of Monday’s Assembly session.

 Eighth grader Samantha Gray called the experience educational and exciting.

 “I learned a lot about our state’s government,” said Megan Aguilar, also an eighth grader.  And Judith Morales, a seventh grader said, “It was a very fun experience.”

 Melendez gave each of the students a copy of the State Constitution so they “could continue to learn about our state and the principles we believe as Californians,” she said.

 This was the first field trip to the capitol by St. James students, but plans are in the works for another trip in two years for the next group of seventh and eighth graders.

 The trip to Sacramento was optional for students and each family had to pay the airfare costs for their students to attend.  In total, 21 students and six adults made the trip.