BY CAITLIN VANOVERBERGHE
Congressman Tim Walberg’s daughter, Heidi, never was very interested in school until she found her educational “sweet spot,” as he calls it. Heidi was great with the social side of things but never really got the grades, U.S. Rep. Walberg, R-Tipton, told Monroe County Middle College students Monday morning in the La-Z-Boy Center at Monroe County Community College. So she decided to pursue an alternative form of education and attend vocational school to begin studying to be a dental hygienist, similar to what middle college teens chose to do.
Rep. Walberg visited the Monroe County Community College to speak with middle college students about his work in Washington. The talk was given in conjunction with the students’ U.S. history classes and their discussions about the federal government.
“Heidi was blessed with the ability to carry on two sides of a conversation,” Rep. Walberg said to laughs from the students, explaining his daughter’s time in vocational classes. “(After taking these courses) she understood why math and science were so important. She knew she had to get good grades to get into a good college.”
Monroe County Middle College is a group of 230 high school-aged students who chose to forgo the typical high school experience in exchange for a five-year, college-accredited program.
While taking many of the usual high school classes, middle college students receive dual credit from the community college and do work in a career-related field, usually medical.
Aaron Kipfmiller, 18, of Flat Rock is in his fifth year at the middle college on the political science track. He is working on a capstone project that requires him to complete 40 hours of related work. Rep. Walberg’s discussion aided with the project’s completion, but also gave Aaron a chance to listen to the congressman first hand.
“My dean of students told me about (Rep. Walberg coming) because she knew I was interested in this sort of thing,” Aaron said. “I would like to run for office one day.”
While walking around campus, Aaron was able to explain to Rep. Walberg about how the middle college operates and how the alternative school has aided in his education.
“ You basically get a college education for free,” Aaron said. “ Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?”
During a question-and-answer session, Rep. Walberg told students about how he got into politics and what a usual week looks like in his office. Many students inquired about different areas of education, including how Congress is planning on aiding both students and teachers to make education effective.
Mike Miller’s U.S. history students were one of the classes involved with Monday’s visit. Mr. Miller said his students had been studying citizenship but now will move on to limited government and federalism. He said he had been hoping his students would ask more controversial questions of the congressman during the discussion, but he was pleased that the MCCC environment allowed his students this opportunity.
“It’s rare for someone like this to come and talk to just students,” Mr. Miller said. “ Things like health care may not be important to them right now, but in a few years it’s going to affect them.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, talks Monday morning with Monroe County Middle College juniors Shannon Hersch, 16, of Milan and Savannah Cadle, 15, of Ida (right) before speaking to the youths at Monroe County Community College.
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Monroe Evening News: Walberg Shares Life in Washington with Students
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