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Congresswoman Doris Matsui visits Energy Academy at Foothill High
Congresswoman Matsui with FHS principal Brian Welborn
Congresswoman Doris Matsui tours the FHS Energy Academy with principal Brian Welborn. Photo by Steph Parsons.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui visited the New Energy Academy at Foothill High School yesterday. Matsui came in and introduced herself to everyone in the room before sitting down to listen to a speech given about the New Energy Academy. Matsui asked questions about the students who had graduated, wondering if they went out to look for jobs in the energy field.

"It seems to me that you have a great program, with your different criteria with each class," Matsui said. "But it seems to me that the transitional period from high school to whatever, especially in the area of the Community College, is a difficult state with either apprenticeship or futures."

After the meeting, Matsui and FHS Principal Brian Welborn and the Twin Rivers Superintendent Steven Martinez walked down to the New Energy Academy where students showed Matsui about the many ways to make energy-efficient things, like solar ovens, a solar boat, and about how much energy our school saved last year by winning a grant from PG&E for the most energy saved among participating schools in California.

"I'm very impressed about the students involved in this program," said Matsui. "They are really the future with the collaboration between an industry and education I believe is important because you don't divorce jobs from education because so many times in the past students will be studying a subject, but they can't see the relationship to a job in the future. With what this does make a connection and with this it makes students learn more quickly to because they can see the connections if they are actually working on a projects like the solar type ovens you can actually learn the principles and have a result right before your eyes. This is exciting and I think we are very fortunate that industries are now getting involved with education."

After touring the New Energy Academy, Matsui went next door with Wellborn and visited the students, giving a motivational speech about how great they were doing, and that they care about them. Matsui interacted with students, understanding what was happening with them.

"You are important to us, you are important to our future," Matsui stated. "I know for PG&E and some of the other energy companies, a lot of industry today, they have a whole generation of their work force that are going to start retiring and they don't have the skilled workforce to come in after them and is even different to them the technology involved in solar used in what we're doing today is going to ensure that you help industries like PG&E in the industries."

After Matsui's speech, she was asked a few questions by the students, answering them the best she could. One student thanked her for coming to Foothill High School and for recognizing them for the things that they do, because they do not get enough credit for them.

In the end, Matsui was asked a few more questions before going to the front office, where she took pictures with staff members, and then departed.

"I very much like that the fact that she's interested and active in the energy industry," said teacher David Yeroshek, who runs the New Energy Academy. "And she's interested in students going through the whole stem thing, the science, and the technology and really appreciating the hands-on experience that the students have and the fact that she encouraged the students to continue their pursuit of education, particularly the energy industry, and that was nice of her to be able to do that for my students."

Matsui is planning on coming back to FHS in the spring to see how the students are doing in the New Energy Academy.



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