Congressman Rodney Davis was invited to tour the school and see how COVID-19 has affected public schools, that tour happened at Meridian High School on Friday, April 23.
“We toured the facilities, we got a chance to look at what the high school looked like when it got remodeled a few years ago,” Davis said. “We also got a chance to see what’s working here and what makes this facility able to do what it does during the pandemic.”
Davis wanted to view the school because of the remodel a few years prior and because he and his District Director were from small communities.
“My District Director is a native Blue Mound’er and we’ve always wanted to come to see the new facility. We got invited by Superintendent Andy Pygott to see what all you guys have been and what your plans are for the future and how you’ve been able to be in-person during the pandemic,” Davis said.
Meridian senior Audrey Wise wrote Representative Rodney Davis, several years ago, for her English II project themed around role models.
“[The letter] was an inspirational piece and every year I saw him at the Pana Labor Day Parade and he really inspired me to be something bigger,” Wise said.
With the chaos of politics, Davis can appreciate the connections with the community.
“I was sitting in the same chair as you guys and to have [Wise] write a letter, which was immediately given to me, when it happened and to respond; it’s one of those things where you get a chance to take a step back in the reality of politics and Washington to just talk to the folks,” Davis said.
Davis wrote back soon after Wise sent her letter, and he responded with personal and inspirational advice.
“It really meant a lot to me when he wrote back to me,” Wise said.
After meeting with Wise, Davis met with junior Alexi Jones. Jones plans to enlist in the military and with hopes to attend West Point in her future.
“I am currently applying for West Point, and I wanted to just introduce myself and get on a first-name basis,” Jones said. “I am in the process of applying, and I recently got accepted to their Summer Leadership Program. I’m going to go to that at the end of the month.”
One of the requirements to attend West Point is a congressional nomination which can come from a few people, so Jones seized the chance to meet Davis.
“I was telling him what I was trying to do, and in order to get into West Point, you need a nomination from a congressman or congresswoman in your district. So we talked and he said he is not the whole part of the process but he is a part of it.”
Although politics are Davis’s forte, he values the times he can communicate with the youth.
“Any chance I can to come back to talk to the students and get a chance to put faces to names is really inspirational.”