The Herald Bulletin

November 4, 2013

Rep. Susan Brooks talks tech with Frankton students

By Zach Osowski The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — FRANKTON — A month after Frankton’s eighth-grade class visited the Capitol building and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks in Washington, D.C., she returned the favor by stopping by Frankton Junior/Senior High School on Monday.

Brooks, who represents Indiana’s 5th District, visited the school for two hours, talking to various classes about government and technology.

Brooks first visited the school’s computer lab and chatted with students about what they were learning. She said computer science jobs are on the rise and will be a huge part of the economy when these students are looking for jobs.

She also mentioned a new amendment that has just been attached to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that allows schools to use their federal funding for their computer science classes. The act still needs to receive Senate approval.

“It would allow for teachers to get more professional development,” Brooks said. “So they can bring AP exams and fund those AP exams for kids who take a lot of computer science.”

She told students she hears companies say they aren’t getting enough people with computer programming degrees.

The freshman representative then met with the class she showed around the Capitol building in October. Because of the government shutdown, visitors had to be accompanied by a legislator at all times, so the class got a personal tour from Brooks.

They got to see things normally not on tours such as the cornerstone of the building. They also got to go on the House floor and even got a tour of the Speaker of the House’s balcony.

It’s no surprise that the personal tour was one of the highlights for the students, who presented Brooks with a framed picture collage and a scrapbook of their trip.

Breanna Boles said the Capitol was her favorite part of the trip.

“I loved seeing the cornerstone, and I loved seeing the historical stuff,” she said. “It was really fun.”

Brock Threet agreed. He said the building tour and meeting Vietnam veterans at the war’s memorial were the highlights of the trip for him.

“It was really cool meeting the veterans,” Threet said. “Going on the Speaker’s balcony was cool, too. It was really big.”

Brooks said it was neat to be able to give the students an in-depth look at the Capitol, especially with other attractions like the Smithsonian closed.

“We spent awhile walking around, showing them the artwork or the statues or the historical nature of the building,” Brooks said.

Brooks closed the trip with a meeting with the student council and junior and senior class officers. She took some questions from the students about what she does on some of the big issues, including the shutdown.

“I was certainly not proud of being a part of the government shutdown,” she said. “I felt like it was a classic example of the two parties not willing to work together.”

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB or call him at 640-4847.