Local

March 1, 2013

School letter-writing project yields Congressional visit

Students of Joe Walker Middle School had the honor of a personal visit from Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., of the 25th United States Congressional District.

The congressman visited 8th grade history students last week at the school to answer their questions about current issues. This visit came as the result of their teacher’s request that students write a letter to one of their representatives at a federal, state or local level.

Many students chose to fulfill their history class assignment by writing letters to Congressman McKeon.

During the course of their history class this year, students discussed current issues and the candidates running for various seats in office. “One of the
things the students said to me was that they didn’t believe they had a voice,” said Willie Scott, history teacher at Joe Walker Middle School. “The congressman coming today, I believe, gave these students the true realization that they do have a voice.”

McKeon answered student questions about many issues from gun control to sequestration and welfare to the national debt. His overall message to students, however, was that they are the future of this country and they must get their education to ensure America’s future.

“If there is one thing you remember from my visit here today, it’s that America needs you,” McKeon told the group of history students. “You’re going to be the future leaders of this country.”

Several students were specifically selected to take the microphone, stand next to McKeon and directly ask him their question, which he answered for the benefit of the entire assembly. McKeon said he was impressed by the quality and depth of the questions coming from such young citizens.

“It’s inspiring when you think that they’re eighth-graders and they’ve got enough understanding of what’s going on in the country to be able to ask those kinds of questions,” said McKeon. “Very, very good. It makes you feel better about our future.”

“I thought the congressman answered them very, very well,” said Bowen Colby, an 8th grade student who asked McKeon what he was doing to stop sequestration.

“At Westside, it is important to us that we build community-minded citizens to ensure the future of the Antelope Valley is in good hands,” said Westside Union School District Superintendent Regina Rossall. “It was an honor to have Congressman Buck McKeon help our students realize how vital they are to the future of their country.”

Serving nearly 9,000 students spread across 346 square miles, Westside Union School District prides itself on being “the district of choice” with more choice-based programs than any other district in the Antelope Valley. With the opening of the Gregg Anderson Academy, there are now 12 schools in the district providing world-class education to students from kindergarten to 8th grade.

Continuing a tradition of high academic achievement, Westside Union School District was the only district in the Antelope Valley to see all of its schools exceed the coveted 800 score on the Academic Performance Index administered by the California Department of Education.




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