Whitko Middle School welcomes former student for visit
(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Congressman Jim Banks, above, visits students at Whitko Middle School where he was a student in the spring of 1993.
In the spring of 1993, Congressman Banks was one of the first students to set foot on the brand new facility at Whitko Middle School. 24 years later, today he visited Whitko with a story full of achievement, inspiration, and to remind students that it is ok to have big goals and big dreams and know that you can reach them. Throughout his speech, the Congressman stated a self described truth that became a theme for the students to reflect upon: that as Americans, "We live in the greatest country in the world" and that "in this country you can dream big."
"Have any of you ever heard of the American dream?" asked Banks to the students, "I've been able to live the American Dream."
As a student at WMS, Banks connected with one teacher specifically, Andrew Layman. While in college, Banks continued to reach out to Layman through emails, and Layman continued to encourage him in his political pursuits and ambitions. "Whitko Middle School played a big role in my life, and Mr. Layman did specifically as well," recalled Banks.
Banks reflected on his recent travels around the globe visiting and meeting with world leaders in a common message about "the way that America works with their countries to keep them safe and to keep the world safe.... I've become more educated about the way the world works and about the role that America plays in it."
During the presentation, students had submitted questions for Banks to answer at the end of their time together. Of the many questions submitted one specifically reflected upon Banks' future ambitions for office, specifically if the Congressman would ever consider running for President some day. Jokingly, Banks admitted "My wife would say 'absolutely not!' and my answer would probably be the same," but was also quick to share his love for the process of democracy and why it is so important that some day, when the students turn 18 years old, that they exercise their right to vote. To exercise their right as citizens to "vote for your leaders who make decisions on your behalf, and have the opportunity to sift the bad one out of office and keep the good ones. When you turn 18, I hope you will be as excited as I was to have the opportunity to go to the ballot box and participate in the democratic process."