The Met Sacramento High School is a unique public charter school under the administrative arm of the Sacramento Unified School District. Located in downtown Sacramento within the Promise Zone, the school’s unique programming empowers its innovative students to become leaders in their community.
Sacramento Promise Zone staff had the opportunity this month to sit down with students and faculty to learn how the school’s distinctive approach is helping to shape the future aspirations of its students and their impact on the community. One student in particular has been able to provide long overdue appreciation for workers in the farming industry.
California is the largest food exporter in the nation. However, many families in the farming community don’t have access to educational opportunities. One Met student, Trinity Perez, is working to change this.
Trinity is a junior, and balances her time between her Met High School classes, Sac City College courses, an internship with Consulado General de Mexico en Sacramento, and part-time work planning events such as Farmer-to-Fork. It is through Farmer-to-Fork that she has shown commitment to the Sacramento farming community. The (Trinity Perez Center) Met High School has given Trinity the motivation, tools and preparation to pursue her project to address and support the Sacramento farming community.
“I just want kids to have the same opportunity that I have, so that they can go to college, start their own businesses, or their own activist groups, or organizations, things that will allow them to empower themselves as well as their community and that they might not have been able to do without this special education.”
The overall vision of the Met is to, “provide an innovative, academically rigorous, project-based education that connects students to community-based internships while being part of a safe and inclusive educational setting.” One of the school’s unique features is its student internship program, ‘gateway projects’ and Senior Thesis Projects (STP)—all designed to train modern youth to become productive members of society in the rapidly changing 21st century environment.
Trinity has taken advantage of all of these opportunities. One of her projects is called Farmer-to-Fork, patterned after Sacramento’s annual “Farm to Fork” event, which provides an elaborate and highly diverse course meal for local field workers, all made with locally grown produce. Last year, Trinity brought 160 guests to the Farmer-to-Fork event. Each guest was served a wonderful meal provided by some of Sacramento’s most prominent chefs.
Trinity was first inspired to create this event while considering her ‘gateway project’ where students create a project to benefit the community that incorporates all of their learning goals. Her parents first brought up the idea because of their connection with a family friend who is a prominent activist in the farming community.
Trinity overcame many obstacles to bring this project to fruition. For instance, in trying to recruit chefs to participate in the Farmer-to-Fork event, many chefs were hesitant. Yet, Trinity persevered. “I was going from restaurant to restaurant and, most of them were pretty interested in it. Then once I had clarified that I was in high school, suddenly they had lost interest, so it became a constant thing where I had to pick back up at the end.” Then, chef Steven Gonsalves agreed to partner with her. From there, he connected Trinity with chefs Chris Nester and Patrick Mulvaney. “For the event we secured a venue at ‘Maya Traditional Mexican Cuisine.’ It was like this journey that I had not expected.”
Trinity was very excited to see that so many field workers were able to attend the event. “It was really heartwarming to see how many people I had been able to touch with this event. I hadn’t expected it in the beginning because they had never been invited or recognized. It made me feel really good
about myself and my community, knowing that I was able to make a difference in these people’s lives and tell whoever saw my event, and tell Sacramento, that we recognize the field workers here and we want the best for them.”Trinity’s persistence to create this event represents her vision to recognize the contributions of the field-worker community and establish an event to honor their work.
In addition to the Farmer-to-Fork event, as part of her Senior Thesis Project (STP), Trinity and some of her fellow classmates are working to raise funds to support a small classroom for children of local field workers for next year. “All the field workers come in for free but we do have 100 open public tickets and, that money is going towards my STP. I plan on putting up my first classroom for children who are not given the opportunity for education, as well as field workers who struggle with language barriers.”
This year, Trinity is working to expand the Farmer-to-Fork event, inviting over 400 community members, offering nine dishes and supplementing the event with funds she raises from her STP. Projects like the ones Trinity has created are providing a significant education and potential economic benefit for residents in the Promise Zone.