December 10, 2015

Manchin speaks to Fairmont Senior students via Skype | Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — As part of the first global Skype-a-Thon, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is discussing current political issues with students throughout West Virginia.

The goal of the Skype-a-Thon by Microsoft is to travel 1 million virtual miles.

On Wednesday, Manchin “met” with Fairmont Senior High School students in AP U.S. History and AP Government classes to discuss current political issues via Skype, a popular videoconferencing website.

Students asked questions on issues such as immigration, fracking, college expenses and prescription drug abuse.

FSHS principal Tyson Furgason thought it meant a lot for his students to get the opportunity.

“It means a lot because Sen. Manchin is from our area, and Sen. Manchin has had several of his own kids go through Fairmont Senior and his granddaughter goes to school here now,” Furgason said.

According to a press release from Manchin’s office in Washington, he is enjoying being able to speak to students in West Virginia.

“I truly enjoyed (Wednesday’s) discussion with the bright students of Fairmont Senior High,” Manchin said. “My weekly Skype sessions serve as an invaluable tool for me to hear directly the thoughts and concerns of West Virginia’s next generation and tomorrow’s leaders. Thank you to the students and staff in Fairmont for your participation, and I look forward to continuing our discussion in the future.”

Furgason believes the time Manchin took to speak to the students was important.

“I think a lot of times people feel that their members in Senate or their representatives are not connected to them. He does a really good job at being connected to his constituents,” Furgason said.

“It shows our students that in a time when it seems like Congress is just stalemated against each other and not willing to work, he is showing that they matter because he is reaching out to them and he is sending that message about Congress working for the people.

“I think it was extremely important for a lot of different reasons — reaching out to the young people, he is reaching out to his constituents and he is putting the message out there. With the issues that we are facing today, we have to work together. It was really nice to have him.”

Manchin wanted the students to remember three things: they are the product, to know their value and to be serviceable.

“Never shortchange yourself, but never be afraid to jump in and start and work your way up to the true value that you are as the product,” Manchin said.

He closed the session by telling students if they put their mind to it and work hard, they can be anything they want to be no matter where they are from.

By:  Kelsie VanderWijst