The U.S. Secretary of Education came to East Tech High School to encourage more community support of our school programs to “fill the gaps” left by school budgets and schedules.
By NATHANIEL JOHNSON
Call & Post Student Journalist
On Wednesday, September 7th, the U.S. Secretary of Education came to East Tech High School to encourage more community support of our school programs to “fill the gaps” left by school budgets and schedules. I am a Call and Post student journalist and this is my report on the secretary’s visit.
Setting up and waiting
We — The Scarabian Knights (my East Tech Robotics team) — were called down hours before the event to help set up our greeting table. Like usual, we set up the Scarabian Knights Throne so people could take a picture in the chair and get the photo within seconds. A picture in our special chair is a great way to remember our team. I thought about different questions that I could ask Secretary Duncan if I were to get an interview. Since I am apart of both the East Tech robotics team, and C.T.A.G. (Closing the Achievement Gap), I had to be in two places at once, which was exciting. Time flew by quickly and the event soon began, so I went into the auditorium and took a seat.
During the event
The beginning of the event was good because of the fine quality music being played by the Cleveland All-City Band and Cleveland Choir. They kept most people entertained until U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan showed up. When he arrived, he was welcomed into the auditorium with a round applause. The panel included Ms. Cavor, chief of Transformation for CMSD, as well as a question and answer session. A teenaged boy asked the panel what he should do since society’s stereotypes has already written him off as a failure due to the fact that he is both in a foster home and a young African American male. They told him that, if he stays on the right path, he wouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Getting a chance to meet the Secretary
After the event, I had a little trouble finding my team through the masses of people but I got a helpful hint from an elderly woman who told me where they were outside near the side of the school building. My team got a chance to see him but believed we couldn’t get near and my robotics advisor, Ms Loeb, wasn’t too optimistic that we could get through to him before boarding his bus. Our mentor David thought otherwise and managed to bulldoze our way through the people so we could get a chance to meet him. We showed off our robot to him and everyone else watching then talked to the secretary about what we do during the robotics competitions. He said he was aware of most of the stuff we talked about because he attended the F.I.R.S.T. 2008 national competition. After getting a picture with him shaking out robots “hand,” the secretary voiced interest in our relationship with GrafTech International and Rockwell Automation, both long-time East Tech F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition sponsors. The secretary also was impressed with our new partnership with CSU’s Fenn Academy, and with Cleveland’s high-tech manufacturing incubator, MAGNET, for agreeing to let this year’s robotics team build our robot at the MAGNET facility.
In the end, we left with a group photo with him and the right to say we got a chance to meet the United States Secretary of Education.
Nathaniel Johnson is a senior at East Technical High School and a student journalist for the Call and Post. For questions about this article or the Call and Post’s Student Journalist Program, please call (216) 791-7600, ext. 229, or email email@example.com.