A Word with Our Nation's Principal
Backstage: A Student Interviewer's Perspective
By: Cole Weirich and Grant Helton
Armed with Steno-pads and prewritten questions, we anxiously prepared to meet with our education system's leader, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. We had only known we were to be interviewers for a day and had been backstage for minutes when palms started sweating and butterflies beat against the lining of our stomachs. Such events would be the subject of bragging for years to come.
Backstage we watched the projected video with reflected picture, like watching in a mirror. We met with the superintendant of Fayette County, Tennessee, Dr. Cedrick Gray, and AMLE President Nancy Poliseno as they waited to go onstage with us. A man who worked with Secretary Duncan approached us and handed us each a shiny medal. It was a challenge coin, part of an old tradition started in the military. It had the presidential seal on one side and the Department of Education's seal on the opposite. He informed us this was Arne Duncan's challenge coin and that we should ask for other officials' challenge coins when given the opportunity.
After receiving the coin, we were cued to come onstage to interview Mr. Duncan. We alternated asking him our questions and committing his answers to memory, moderated by Dr. Gray. Onstage, he mentioned that his hope was for students to do well and that his administration's hope was for the U.S. to once again have the highest number of college graduates in the world.