Fourth-graders rate a Congressional visit Students share their impressions of Rahm EmmanuelPhoto courtesy of John Thompson Christi Hargis and her fourth-grade class at North Park Elementary School found U.S. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel surprising when he visited there recently.
The students in Christi Hargis’ fourth-grade class at North Park Elementary School in Chicago aren’t waiting to express their political voice. Having concluded their coursework on politics at work, the students wrote a letter to U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) telling him how they thought he could improve their North Side neighborhood. After twice canceling planned visits, Emanuel paid a surprise visit to the school to address their questions. Chicago Parent asked the fourth-graders to tell us their impressions of the congressman. The majority of these 9- and 10-year-olds will be of voting age in just eight years. After reading some of the responses, we predict tomorrow’s politicians are being groomed right in Hargis’ class. See if you agree.
I found out Rahm Emanuel would come to our school after we wrote to him. I was so excited I couldn’t wait. But an emergency popped up twice, so I figured he would never come. Finally, he came! I mean, I barely brushed my hair that morning. He was really nice, like a guy you would wish was your dad, nice. Nora Cowlin, 9
In our letters, we talked about what could make this area that we live in a better place and a little about how we felt about the war in Iraq. I never knew that much about being a congressman, but now I can say I do. Michael Hrywnak, 9
After he canceled two times, not many people thought Rahm Emanuel was going to come. On the third time, he finally came. He explained about the bills he came up with and how Congress worked. Rahm Emanuel shook all the fourth-graders’ hands. I never knew he led such a normal life. Anna Cieslik, 9
I think Rahm Emanuel answered our questions very well, and with a lot of detail. He changed my viewpoint on his job: I thought that all he would do is go to lots of meetings all day long and work a lot. Once he talked to us I realized that he makes other people’s lives much easier. Now I appreciate politician more because they are working to make our lives easier, not just making our government better. Niki Bertsche, 9
When Rahm Emanuel came to visit our school he talked about his life and job. He once gave a veteran his medals for World War II, after 65 years of waiting for them. He changed my view when he said he worked for [former President Bill] Clinton because I thought he was a normal businessman who ran for Congress. Max Moore, 10
I really liked Rahm Emanuel coming to our school. One thing I learned was that congressmen have more fun in their job than you would think. We all hope he can come again soon. Madeline Minogue, 10 When Rahm Emanuel came to our school he talked about his life and his job. I thought Rahm Emanuel was going to be very bulky, but he is very small. Also, I thought he was going to come in a tuxedo, but he came in a sweater, shirt and black pants. I liked when Rahm Emanuel said, “I wanted to be a congressman when I was little because I wanted to help people.’’ He even told us what steps a bill has to go through to become a law. I thought it took only three steps, but it takes about four to six. Leyla Solaksubasi, 10
When Rahm Emanuel came to our school, he told us facts about his job and about Congress. He also took questions and gave really logical answers for them. Some of the teachers didn’t even know what he was talking about! Dakota Chisholm, 9
Rahm Emanuel is not as serious as you would think. He is actually funny when he makes a joke. When the joke is not funny, he says, “Well that didn’t do too well here. It was a hit with the teachers.” When I wrote the letter, I thought he would have blond hair and blue eyes and have guards following him around. All I have to say about him is he is a nice guy. William Andrew Young, 10
Thanks also to Marissa Cameron, Liam Hoy, Ben Palmer, David Podea, Jane Bodmer, Elan Frankel, Daniel Swanson-Nystrom, Charlotte Adams and Jonathan Walters for their contributions. Please Tell Us... Kids: Tell us what’s great about Mom and Dad This is the space in the magazine we reserve to hear from our raison d’être: kids. In the year since we launched this feature, we have gotten kids’ perspectives on books, movies, video games, even a tour of the Chicago Federal Reserve. We want to hear from your kids about the things they like and don’t like: movies, books, plays, exhibits, games or anything else they want to write about. We’ll run those reviews in March and April. But, for May and June, we have another assignment. We’d like them to tell us about you. For May, we’d like essays about Mom. What does she do better than anyone else? What makes your mom the greatest in the whole wide world? Do you remember a moment when you were little, when Mom saved you? Deadline March 19. In June, it’s dads’ turn. What is so special about Dad? Is he funny? Silly? Kind? What does he do that makes him the best dad in the world? Deadline April 16. Whether your child writes a review or essay, we’d like 350 words or less. If we run it, we’ll send him or her a $10 gift certificate. Please include a photo of the child, his or her full name, age and town for publication as well as the address, parents’ name and phone number for verification purposes. Include the full title of the book, movie or whatever is being reviewed. Send submissions to: Kids’ Corner, c/o Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302. Or e-mail them to: email@example.com.