Over the past four years, Mound Westonka High School has welcomed sitting members from various branches of government to political “round tables” with MWHS seniors. Last year, the high school was visited by Rep. Erik Paulsen, who spoke on his role in the U.S. Congress. This year’s seniors had the opportunity to exchange ideas with a U.S. senator.
Sen. Al Franken addressed the entire senior class on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Franken spoke candidly about the challenges he currently faces in Washington and the reasons why he feels privileged to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.
Two senior members of the MWHS Link Crew took the senator on a quick tour of the building—popping in on unsuspecting classrooms along the way. Sen. Franken even dusted off his Español in a Spanish class (“¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?”) and showed off some football skills in the gym.
During the tour, Student Senate President Katey Nelson and Tyler Hebig highlighted some of the ways they use 21st century skills in the classroom each day, including their use of iPads and other wireless technology and utilizing “the cloud” for homework and group assignments. MWHS Principal Keith Randklev described the district’s commitment to personalizing learning for each student and helping students acquire skills they will need to succeed in college and beyond.
It was standing room only in the Little Theater when the senator addressed the senior class at 1:15 p.m. Franken told the audience that he didn’t want to spend too much time talking, as he was more interested in hearing the students’ questions.
Franken explained that a lot of what he does as a U.S. senator involves meeting with other politicians and sharing good ideas and best practices from Minnesota that could benefit the country as a whole. For example, Franken explained, Minnesota is currently ranked No. 1 in health care.
“If the country did health care the way Minnesota does health care, we’d be a lot better off,” Franken said. “We really have a spectacular state.”