The Gem Among Us

By Saeri Plagmann, Feature Editor

If people were to consider all the things they take for granted in life, how many would start appreciating them? It is useless to simply recognize the things that are being disregarded every day; it all comes down to what people do after that realization. Malissia Bordeaux, a senior at Kennedy, took consideration of this at an early age.

Malissia was twelve when her mother passed away. The distress and loss of motivation she experienced was the root of her deteriorating grades, as well as the reason for why she stopped playing her favorite sport– basketball.Malissia admits her life might have been different had it not been for the teacher who made her see what was important. “One of my teachers told me that I could be doing better one day, so I started thinking. And then I realized that I needed to do better for my mom. So I started caring about education,” she said.

To Malissia, education was a part of her life that she took for granted. Her acknowledgment of that fact allowed her to significantly improve her grades, although it also became an awakening for something much bigger.

It was after hearing about the possible closure of after-school programs that she attended a board meeting. “I started having meetings with board members and [I got] into education politics, and I found a passion,” she said.

Her deep interest in politics of education had done more for Malissia than present her with countless opportunities; it allowed her to have an impact on the lives of everyone around her. As a student representative on the Graduation Task Force, she spends most of her time trying to improve schools in the district and their culture. “Equity is a big problem in our system to me. Our system is set up to where not every student succeeds. The system that we have now is corrupt and wouldn’t function correctly if everyone can succeed. That’s why we need to change it.”

In early February, Malissia participated in a press conference with the Superintendent to speak in support of the Pathways to College Act. The bill promises higher education to all students by allowing school districts to offer college admission tests. Her dedication to ensuring the success of all students earned her an on-the-spot internship at the State Capitol, where her chances of achieving her dreams greatly expanded.

An outstanding student, an athlete, a student representative on the Graduation Task Force, and an intern at the State Capitol; all this and more make up who Malissia is today. Her plans for the future include making campuses more equitable and using her power in the GTF to increase graduation rates for minority students by changing the culture of schools.

“I have a dream to truly fix our education system and make it truly OUR education system. And I’m going to go do it,” she said. Her hope is to help other students find the passion they never knew they had and to show the possibility of everything. “Never take an opportunity for granted because your path is never determined until you get there.”

Malissia’s goal also encompasses the safety of schools in the country. Her most recent achievement included joining Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Sacramento City Unified School District Leaders on March 9 to talk on gun violence prevention, where students from Parkland, Florida, took part in the meeting through a live video message in the Kennedy auditorium.

Her efforts also ran into March 14 when she organized the Kennedy walkout and spoke in honor of the 17 students who died. She continued to lead and be a part of major events by organizing the March For Our Lives event on March 24.

Malissia poses with Doris Matsui (center) and members of SCUSD School Board and Superintendent Jorge Aguilar at the Student Town Hall Event March 9.  
Clarion staff photo.

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