Bonilla spoke to the students Wednesday morning about the census, why it is important and how they could help "be counted in 2010."
The census is a count of everyone residing in the U.S. All U.S. residents must be counted, including people of all races and ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.
The U.S. Constitution requires a national census be taken once every 10 years. It shows the state's population and determines representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A complete count is important because every year the federal government can allocate more than $300 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data.
It is used to help local decision-makers know where to build new roads, hospitals, child care and senior citizen centers, schools and more. Businesses utilize the data to locate supermarkets, new housing and other facilities.
Bonilla told the students they could do their part in acquiring census data by putting up posters in their school, talking to their parents about filling out the questionnaire, which will be mailed in February and March of 2010 and even applying for a temporary job with the census bureau -- must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
This year, Bonilla noted the questionnaire has been shortened from the typical six pages to merely 10 questions, making it the shortest in history. By law, the census bureau cannot share an individual's census questionnaire responses with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.
Bonilla urged students to take part and help raise awareness for census day on April 1, 2010.
The first census was taken in 1790 to determine the number of seats each state would have in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census was also created to gain a better understanding of where people lived and to establish patterns of settlement as the nation grew.
The U.S. Census Bureau was established in 1902. Today, in addition to administering the census of population and housing, the census bureau conducts more than 200 annual surveys, including the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and economic censuses every five years.
Anyone interested in finding a temporary job with the census bureau can visit 2010censusjobs.gov or call toll-free 1-866-861-2010. For more information about the 2010 census, visit 2010census.gov