Mighty Future Leaders


Contact: Taylor Smith
Email: taylor@ssda.org
Phone: (916) 750-0722

Press Release: Mighty Future Leaders 

Sacramento, CA, February 2022 - The Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is proud to host the Mighty Future Leaders at the SSDA 2022 Annual state conference, to be held March 6th – 8th at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West.  Five student leaders were selected: Emilia Daniels, a tenth grader at Lucerne Valley High School, along with Jordan Anicete, Iris Ramons, Berenice Yanez, and Henry Toledo, all eighth-grade students at Vallecitos Elementary School.

Over the last two months, the Mighty Future Leaders created an art exhibit of mental health depictions, taken from students throughout small schools in California. On March 7th, the leaders will participate in a Q&A session that examines the topic of mental health and how art can be a beneficial way to express personal feelings and emotions. This is a particularly relevant topic, as it has been shown that emotional health can promote productivity, effectiveness, and achievements in school. 

When asked about the exhibit, Superintendent Peter Livingston of Lucerne Valley Unified High School District commented, “Having Emilia Daniels part of the Mighty Future Leaders is an excellent opportunity to build skills that will help her be successful in life. We are proud to have Emilia representing Lucerne Valley at the event. Mental health is an issue that is at the forefront of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Having students actively discuss this and create an art gallery is truly noteworthy.”

Vallecitos eighth-grade teacher Shraddha Knight described her four students as “Bright stars whose brilliance was not dampened the past two years by COVID, distance, and hybrid learning. Rather, their intrinsic motivation for doing their best, often going up and beyond, and putting knowledge into action shone brightly through. I know the future generation is in good hands with these young teens.” 

The Leaders unique exhibit further spotlights the timely implementation of the mental health curriculum in K-12 schools throughout California. Schools often serve as one of the most important institutions to address children’s mental health needs. This is particularly true in rural areas of the country, where schools are often one of the only places where children’s mental health services are provided.

On the importance of this event, Superintendent and Principal at Vallecitos Elementary School District Dr. Maritza Koeppen explained: “The Small School District Association supports and advocates for the needs of over 60% of school districts in California. Providing student agency and voice within our small districts allows us to serve and support the whole child perspective and guides the work we do every day. I'm very proud of the leadership roles these students have demonstrated at Vallecitos and within the state of California. Creating intentional, systemic, and ongoing opportunities to listen to students is key to addressing equity issues within our school communities.”

Please join us at the SSDA 2022 Annual State Conference to support the important work of the Mighty Future Leaders.

About Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA)

The California Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is California’s leading organization in terms of addressing, supporting, and lobbying on issues specific to the unique needs of small school districts. The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide relevant information and proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services. To learn more, visit https://www.ssda.org.