Proviso East Students See President Obama Speak in Chicago
December 4, 2014 03:40 PM
A group of Proviso East High School students were among the more than 1,800 people who packed the Copernicus Center in Chicago to see President Barack Obama speak on immigration and other topics on November 25.
Mrs. Martina McEllistrim, a Proviso East social studies teacher, took a group of seven Proviso East students who were chosen from social studies classes to attend the speech. She said that the decision to attend the speech with the students came two days earlier when she saw a link on Facebook on how to get tickets to the speech. She said that she lives near the Copernicus Center, so she was able to secure tickets for herself and seven students.
"I had asked several of the teachers (in the Proviso East social studies department) to nominate a student they thought would be really interested in this," Mrs. McEllistrim said.
At the speech, they heard President Obama speak on immigration five days after he had announced on national television plans to issue an executive order that he said would address the issue. He also spoke on the decision the day before by a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to not indict Darren Wilson, a police officer, in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African-American man, in August.
Mrs. McEllistrim and the students also got to see how the President handled hecklers. According to news reports, when he began to speak on his executive order on immigration, several people in the crowd began to loudly criticize deportations that they said have occurred during his presidency. According to the Chicago Tribune, he appealed for quiet and told them that he "just took an action to change the law," drawing applause from most of the crowd.
The Proviso East students said that they were impressed at the President’s handling of the hecklers.
"He proved them wrong in a nice way," said Kyriel Rhone, a Proviso East junior. "He didn’t get frustrated."
Raul Diaz, a Proviso East junior, considered attending the speech a "once in a lifetime" experience.
"It was very exciting," he said. "It was actually an amazing experience. It can be once in a lifetime."
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that he considered the field trip to see the President a "great idea."
"Anytime our students can be exposed to someone like the President discussing public policy, it is a valuable learning experience," Mr. Valente said. "I am happy that Mrs. McEllistrim was able to get the tickets for this speech, and I look forward to more opportunities for our students to learn from those who are making decisions in our country."
The following Proviso East students attended the President’s speech: Yestelin Godinez, Victor Jimmez, Raul Diaz, Karen Davila, Carolina Trujilla, Zaire Day, and Kyriel Rhone.
Photo by Mrs. Martina McEllistrim, a Proviso East High School social studies teacher.