Miami Springs Homeschooler Ophelia Buñuel serves in the Florida House of Representatives Page Program
Ophelia Buñuel, a Miami Springs homeschooler, participated in the Florida House of Representatives Page and Messenger Program for the first week of the 2023 regular
session sponsored by Representative Vicki Lopez. Her and her fellow middle and high schoolers were able to meet and take photos with all 4 members of the governor’s cabinet, Ron Desantis, Ashley Moody, Wilton Simpson, and Jimmy Patronis. Her and her peers also got to work together as a group through mock bill draftings, committees and sessions. They attended committees, the Opening Day Joint Session, and State of the State Address with Gov. Desantis, Speaker Renner and Senate President Passidomo. While she was in the Capitol she got to listen to several representatives who spoke as guest speakers to the students and answered their questions, Reps. Barnaby, Busatta Cabrera, Hunchofsky, and Trabulsy. Her dream came true when they went on a tour of the Supreme Court and learned more about the Judicial System. She also was lucky to be there during the committee hearing for HB1 and got to meet Homeschool Freedom Lobbyist Brenda Dickinson!
How did this incredible experience begin? She was inspired to join the program when she went on a homeschool FPEA “Day at the Capitol” a few years ago and met a few pages and messengers who told her about the program.
She says the best part of her week in Tallahassee was learning about the process of turning an idea into a law and working with her friends to come up with ways to help their communities. She believes that this week has prepared her to better understand how legislative government works and hopes all kids can have the same incredible experience she had.
She especially wants to thank her sponsor, Representative Vicki Lopez District 113, for so generously giving of her time mentoring Ophelia and explaining the legislative process. She felt so supported by her, explaining the committees, and asking questions so that she could pursue her dreams of learning more about government. She feels so blessed to have someone so caring to guide her forever as a mentor.
From this 9 year old with a dream:
To this 13 year old with a dream come true!
After the State of the State Address Governor Ron Desantis photo with fellow pages and Ophelia Buñuel front row 3rd to the right.
Ophelia Buñuel reporting to her post at the beautiful State Capitol.
Ophelia Buñuel with Representative Vicki Lopez on the floor of the House Chamber for the Joint Session and State of the State Address.
Ophelia Buñuel at the Florida Supreme Court.