On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Phil Roe, U.S. Congressman from Tennessee’s first district, visited with students at Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton. He shared the importance of civic involvement and literacy, telling students these will open the doors to a lifetime of opportunity.
During his visit, he was able to interact with students in every grade level.
“One of my favorite things about my job is getting to visit schools and meeting with students who are the future of our district,” Roe said. “It was my absolute pleasure to speak to the children at Harold McCormick Elementary School about our nation’s capital and what I do on Capitol Hill. A high-quality education is critical for our children’s future, and I thank the wonderful teachers, students and administrators at Harold McCormick for allowing me to visit.”
His first stop at HME was the library, where he read a book with second graders. Before opening the book, he told them reading is the single most important thing he has learned. “Not a day goes by that I’m not reading,” he said.
He also explained how and why he became a congressman, and what it’s like to represent 725,000 people. Roe represents public school children, teachers, and veterans by serving on the education committee and veterans affairs committee.
Principal Tom Hopson hopes this helps student awareness by putting a face and identity with ideas discussed daily in school. “He was very patriotic, and I hope that inspires students,” he said. “They’ll start making those connections and see that it’s important, and they’ll know that somebody they’ve met is working for them.”
After reading with second graders, Roe met with kindergarteners and first graders, and together they said the Pledge of Allegiance. Following this, the Show Choir performed “A Million Dreams,” directed by Emilee Whitehead.
Then he spoke to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders about what it’s like to be a Congressman. After serving in the Army in Korea as a Captain and Major, he went to college, became a medical doctor, and then taught medical students. After this, he became a Congressman, which he said is an honor and a privilege. He serves in a role that was previously held by U.S. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. All of these experiences, he told students, were made possible because he learned to read.
He answered several questions from students regarding education, amendments, school safety, and about his favorite and least favorite parts of being a Congressman. In closing, he said teachers are instrumental, because they help students develop skills like literacy that will last a lifetime and open doors to endless opportunities.
“It was great to see someone with his influence being so down to earth and in touch with people – he wanted to be involved and wanted to talk to our students and teachers,” Hopson said. “I was really proud of everyone and thank him for making our people feel important. We’d love to have him visit again.”