The City of Oceanside is currently outlining the city's plan for the next 15 to 20 years, a process that comes with forums and meetings to gather input on what changes citizens want to see. This time around, a new group of stakeholders are sharing their voice. Students from Oceanside Unified School District's two comprehensive high schools, El Camino and Oceanside, participated in a virtual panel with the city's planning team to discuss their thoughts on housing, development and other topics that will impact them in years to come.
"It's so refreshing for us as planners to have a group of people able to envision a future that is different and better...The plans that we make today will have the greatest impact on your generation," Principal Planner Russ Cunningham told students.
On Oct. 22, the students joined a virtual meeting that opened with a presentation from Cunningham about city planning and the current projects being evaluated in Oceanside. Students then entered breakout groups where they shared ideas on how land should be used around the city, where they would like to see new developments, transportation improvements, and other important topics being evaluated by the city planning team.
Participating students included Shannon Martin's Civil Engineering and Architecture class, which is part of the Environmental Innovation Academy career pathway at Oceanside High. Martin said that through this pathway and course, students can learn about the architecture field, get hands-on practice with the software and tools architects use, and take on real-world design problems. For one project this year, students will go out to look at a park or other area being assessed by Cunningham and the City of Oceanside, and submitting a proposal to redesign that location.
"High School students today do not want to simply check assignments off a list. They want their work to mean something," Martin said. "Through these opportunities, students will be able to work alongside professionals to creatively solve real world problems, making a positive change in their community and taking their learning to a whole new level."
Abigail Austin is a junior in the engineering and architecture pathway of the Environmental Innovation Academy at Oceanside High. She said that the panel helped give her a "deeper understanding" on issues such as gentrification, while getting the opportunity to share her ideas with city leaders. "It was really nice to know that people were there to listen to us," Austin said. "It makes me feel like we can share even more of our ideas in the future as we develop our knowledge from the classes we're taking."
As she explores the field of architecture and options for post-graduation, Austin said that her school's career pathways give her and fellow students the unique opportunity to learn about subjects they would not otherwise be exposed to, gaining a headstart in their college or career plans.
For more information about career pathways in Oceanside Unified, visit the Career Technical Education website. To get involved with Oceanside's city planning, visit onwardoceanside.com.