A Visit From Congresswoman Jackie Walorski

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Representative for the 2nd District of Indiana, visited Goshen Middle School on Tuesday morning, August 15th. She met briefly with the GCS and GMS administrators, but mostly she spoke with and listened to students.

Dr. Woodworth, superintendent; Mrs. Baker, IB principal; Rep. Jackie Walorski, Ms. Shreiner, New Tech principal

GMS students Mario Santos and Allison Sapp served as tour guides.

Rep. Walorski visited Bryan Kauffman’s 8th grade New Tech Social Studies class, where she asked the students to tell her what they were working on, and if they could explain the New Tech curriculum and how it helps them. Students shared that through New Tech they have become more social, have found it easier to meet and talk to people, have made friends, and have found new ways to work together. Students shared about some of the favorite projects they have worked on over the last two years, including a project where they mapped out what their futures might look like.

After hearing about their curriculum and projects, Rep. Walorski said “I am grateful to be here, in 2017, in Indiana, in a place with new concepts and ideas for learning, that are found all over our state.” She told the students that she had recently visited several tech companies in California, and reported that “I felt like I was in a different country when I got off of the plane. Everywhere I looked, there were young employees, who had perhaps graduated early; they were writing code, building a new environment, taking us into a new generation. But when I go on school visits in Indiana, I also see that there are many opportunities here, unlike anything in my lifetime. Students, you can do and become whatever you want. Things are being created that will change our quality of life. You just have to create and imagine what you want and you will make it happen. You are young, and at the age to be able to do it.”

Next, Rep. Walorski invited the students to ask questions. One student asked if she had ever seen the White House. She reported that she had been inside the White House, and that it is actually much smaller than it appears on TV. “When you see it on TV, it looks much bigger, but it actually is not. The rooms are a lot smaller, at least by today’s standards.” She added that the White House is very “historic”, and feels somewhat like a museum, “except for the 2nd floor, which is the president’s residence”. Rep. Walorski added that it is also surprising how much security one must go through before actually getting into the White House.

Another student asked “Have you ever met Donald Trump?” Rep. Walorski laughed and said, “Yes, I have, and you can see that I am tall; I am 6 feet tall. When I wear heels like I have on today, I am about 6’ 2”, so I am often looking down at people when I shake hands. People don’t realize this, but President Trump is actually a big man, probably 6’ 4” and just a big man. I wasn’t expecting that.” Another student asked if she had also met President Obama, and she responded, “Yes, and I was surprised by him as well. He is very lean, and I guess I expected him to be taller. I would guess he is about 5’ 11”. I was in a line of people and he was making his way toward me. I was wearing shoes like I have on today, and I was starting to get nervous and thinking about kicking my shoes off so that I wouldn’t be so tall!” Rep. Walorski added that for her, “it is a great honor to meet any President”.

When the bell rang, the student guides took Rep. Walorski to visit another classroom, this time in the International Baccalaureate (IB) pathway. They went to Ms. Angela Stoltzfus’ class, IB Drama. The students were working on learning stage directions, using stage charts and Play-Doh that they formed into people or objects to move around the parts of the stage as Ms. Stoltzfus called out “stage left”, “center stage”, etc. Rep. Walorski watched for a minute and then said to the adults in the room, “See what we miss, being old?” And then she asked if she could have some Play Doh to make a shape too.

Rep. Walorski asked how many students had ever been in a drama class before, or how many didn’t know what to expect from a drama class. She then asked if some of them think differently about TV and movies since hearing their teacher talk about acting, and learning about the different parts of a stage or set. She asked the students if they planned to be involved in high school drama, and many of them indicated that they were interested in participating at high school. Ms. Stoltzfus added that “the students will do two shows this year. We want the students to be risk-takers (one of the IB learner profile attributes) as they take the stage. We want them to be risk-takers, and not to be shy.”

All too soon, Rep. Walorski’s staff indicated that they needed to be moving on to the next commitment, so she took a few more pictures and then it was time to say good-bye.

Goshen Community Schools would like to thank Congresswoman Jackie Walorski for visiting GMS today and for allowing the students to show her the New Tech and IB pathways at our school. Rep. Walorski gave her full attention to the students and teachers, and offered to help them in any way that she could. She invited them to call her office, email her, or check out her website, “I am literally two clicks away!”

It was an honor to be able to show some of what GMS students and staff are doing in our classrooms. As a school system, we welcome any of our representatives to arrange a visit to our schools.