On Monday, November 14, 2011, Overland and Prairie students and administrators welcomed Senator Michael Bennet to the campus.
Bennet was met by a panel of student leaders from PMS and OHS. They spoke to him about the highlights of the O-Zone community, including academic and athletic achievements.
As a former superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Bennet was interested in the programs available with the addition of the Institute of Science & Technology. He was pleased to hear that the STEM courses were available to all students, and not just a select few. He spoke about his desire to change the number of children in poverty who are able to attend college.
At the end of the student panel discussion, a confident Prairie eighth-grader, Nick Ivakhnic, requested the senator's approval he would need to attend the Air Force one day. Bennett praised his determination and offered his business card.
A tour of the Institute of Science & Technology included visits to the classrooms of Carolyn Porter, Debbie Gregg, and Jenny Kirkpatrick.
In Kirkpatrick's room, Bennet participated in the class discussion of "Lord of the Flies." He likened the screaming voices in Washington DC to those in the book.
Bennet understands the value of talking to the people to find out what they find important. He realizes that many politicians in Washington lose sight of what the people care about.
Senator Bennet shared with Kirkpatrick's class the importance he places on spending time with his family and offered the advice that "99% of success is just showing up."
Although his visit was short, Senator Michael Bennet made an impact on the students with whom he visited.