Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye Speaks at Symposium for Local Students

Hundreds of junior high and high school students from Sonoma, Marin, and Napa Counties are convening at a symposium to be addressed by Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on April 11 at the Green Music Center’s Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall.

Called “Imagine Yourself …,” the program is designed to inspire and engage students in dialogue with civic leaders who have succeeded despite challenging backgrounds.

“Students need everyday heroes and to see themselves in the stories told by those heroes,” says organizer Lisa Carreño, Regional Director of 10,000 Degrees in Sonoma County. “Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye will share her story and encourage students to imagine themselves more courageous and more capable of fulfilling their dreams and changing the world.”

The Chief Justice was similarly encouraged when she was a girl. After meeting housing lawyer Gloria Majino Ochoa, one of the first Filipina lawyers admitted to the California bar, Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s mother challenged her to imagine herself becoming a lawyer, which she did.

“Future teachers, supervisors, attorneys, politicians, or judges could be among the participants at this event,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye “but it is crucial that everyone there regardless of their backgrounds or personal circumstances be inspired and supported in making that first step on their personal journeys and that is to become graduates.”

The 28th Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye was sworn into office on January 3, 2011 by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and became the first Asian-Filipina American and the second woman to serve as the state’s Chief Justice.

The event is free to invited students and teachers and to local business, education and community leaders. Students are coming from Santa Rosa (Amarosa Academy, Lawrence Cook, Herbert Slater, and Hilliard Comstock Middle Schools, St. Rose School, and Ridgeway High) Windsor (Windsor Middle and High Schools) and Novato High School. Transportation support is being provided by Marin Community Foundation, Santa Rosa City Schools, and the Sonoma County Office of Education to enable students to attend.

“Our work at 10,000 Degrees is all about giving students the opportunity to dream and to see themselves on a path to achieving their potential, says Kim Mazzuca, President and CEO of 10,000 Degrees, who will preside over the day’s program.

Prior to the Chief Justice’s keynote address, students and adults in attendance will be able to engage with a panel of the following local leaders:

  • Capitol Page High School graduate (1965) and former United States Congressman Doug Bosco, who is now General Counsel for The Press Democrat and a civil litigator
  • Novato High School graduate (2009) Angelica Quirarte, who is an Executive Office Program Fellow at the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento and a 2013 graduate of UC Santa Barbara
  • Elsie Allen High School graduate (2011) Jonathan Gomez, a junior attending Sonoma State University who will graduate in 2015

“Sonoma State University is delighted to host the 10,000 Degrees Symposium “Imagine Yourself …,” where students will meet with civic leaders about how to meet challenges and secure success in school, careers, community and life. Developing conviction and strategies of “Si se puede” will put these students on the track to success. I hope that many of them will see Sonoma State University as their next place for their academic endeavors, says Ruben Armiñana, President of Sonoma State University.

“At the end of the day, our goal is for the students there—many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds—to hear the adult educators, business and community leaders saying to them, ‘We have been in your shoes, and our paths were challenging and disappointing too sometimes. We believe in you. We support you. We know that you can become what you are truly meant to be,’” says Carreño.

The symposium is presented by 10,000 Degrees and the Center for Ethics, Law, and Society at Sonoma State University and is being co-presented by Sonoma County Superior Court, Community Foundation Sonoma County, Marin Community Foundation, Sonoma County Office of Education, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Santa Rosa City Schools, Los Cien Sonoma County, Sonoma County Alliance, and the Sonoma County Bar Association.

10,000 Degrees is a nonprofit that helps underserved students from Marin and Sonoma Counties get to and through college at an unprecedented rate. Our vision is that regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, every student will have the support and resources to earn a college degree and achieve their potential.

For more information, contact: Lisa Carreño Regional Director, (707) 303-9612,