The visit of the C-SPAN school bus and the United States Secretary of Education on Oct. 9 brought both excitement and nervousness to the halls of Robinson Secondary School. Secretary Rod Paige visited several classes and students were allowed to interact with him while being televised on C-SPAN.
As Paige arrived, student government representatives welcomed and led him on a tour of Robinson. The secretary then went to the media center, where he observed students completing a lesson using the C-SPAN Web site and conversed with them about what they were doing.
Paige's next stop was at Eileen Noonan's International Baccalaureate History of the Americas class, where students were able to ask him questions. "It was very exciting to have someone of such prestige visiting Robinson, especially to hear him show such enthusiasm about the successes of our students," said Noonan.
PAIGE was then escorted to a question and answer session with students who were selected to participate based on their high academic records and leadership roles in Robinson. They asked him questions about everything from the success of the "No Child Left Behind" pledge to the possibility of tax-deductible college tuition. Paige called Robinson "an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity," and was impressed at the students' questions.
"I was excited to see him because his policies will affect my whole life, not just as a student now, but because I want to be a teacher," said senior Lindsay Fullerton.
Although the students were excited to talk to the secretary, some were apprehensive about appearing on television. "When the press came in and the C-SPAN people were there with cameras and microphones, it made me a little nervous," said senior Phong Dinh. "It was a really interesting and unique experience though, and I'm glad I got to participate."
THE REMAINDER of the visit concentrated on allowing students who were studying media a chance to see what their future careers might entail. Before he left, Paige held a brief press conference. Students who were seniors in the journalism program were allowed to stand with the press and ask questions.
The students who produce Good Morning Robinson, the daily televised announcements, had the honor of eating lunch with the C-SPAN executives after Paige left. They provided the students with useful information about pursuing a career in broadcast journalism.
"I was slightly nervous to meet them, but once we started to talk I became much more calm and relaxed," said Good Morning Robinson editor Casey Clarke.
"They were very insightful about the television business," Clarke said. "They told us the best college courses to take to get into the business and the best ways to get equipment to start our own show."