California Senator Melissa Hurtado was sworn into office Friday — International Women’s Day— in South High’s auditorium in front of politicians, community members, students and teachers.
During the ceremony, Hurtado commemorated Women’s History Month by thanking all the women who have made difference in her life and who have inspired her. She also encouraged and thanked all the young women in the room.
“Young women in this auditorium, I want you all to break the glass ceiling and achieve the American dream,” Hurtado said. “I dare you to be bold, break the mold and live out your dream.”
In the audience were many notable community members, including Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Mayor Karen Goh, Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola and Emilio Huerta.
Hurtado said she held her swearing in ceremony in Bakersfield to show her appreciation for the support she received from Kern County during her campaign. Democrat Hurtado beat Republican incumbent Andy Vidak in November for the District 14 State Senate seat.
South High Principle Connie Grumling said she was surprised when Hurtado asked if she could hold the ceremony on campus.
“I lost it, just lost it, ” Grumling said. “She is very inspiring, especially to my Latina girls.”
South High’s student population is heavily Latino. According to Grumling, 87 percent of the student body at South High is Latino.
South High student Celestina Romero, 16, was inspired by Hurtado, she said.
“It was good, interesting and inspiring,” Romero said.
Senior Fabian Mendez, 17, did not know much about Hurtado but enjoyed learning about her and hearing her speak.
“I really didn’t know about her, but I read her water conservation bill and that got me interested,” Mendez said. “And I read up on her. Her parents were immigrants, and I really connect with that.”
Once the ceremony ended, Hurtado spoke with members in the audience.
This story was made possible with a grant from California Humanities, in partnership with the Bakersfield College Foundation and the Virginia Alfred Harrell Foundation.