October 29, 2015

Spring Mills Middle students Skype with Senator Manchin, Katiann Marshall | Martinsburg Journal

SPRING MILLS-Spring Mills Middle school students skyped with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Wednesday morning.

Students throughout the school submitted a question that they wanted to ask Manchin and then school officials chose seven students to stand in front of the live-streaming camera and each ask their question.

The students chosen were: sixth-graders Dei'Ja Taylor-Mallory, Zachary Chapman and Nolan Choiniere, seventh-graders Nina Salujah and Julia Chapman, and eighth-graders Gabby Jainniney and Katherine Brady.

Seventh-grader Nina Salujah asked her question to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin during the Skype session at Spring Mills Middle School Wednesday.

Approximately 30 student government representatives sat in on the live Skype session, while the remaining students in the school were able to view the session through streaming technology in the gymnasium and classrooms.

"Character is developed when you take responsibility for your actions," Manchin said when asked about character.

"We need to bring the country back together," Manchin added when speaking about the United State's next president.

Manchin said the one thing he has learned while serving in the Senate is patience. "When I was governor I was able to get things done quickly and now I've learned that things here in D.C. have a longer process," he added.

Chapman said that he chose the question he did because it is something his school practices daily. "In school they always talks about AIR so I thought it would be good to include" Chapman said.

The student asked Manchin: "At Spring Mills Middle School we are expected to be accountable, have integrity and be respectful. How important are these character traits for the next president?"

AIR is the theme for Berkeley County Schools, which stands for accountability, integrity and respect.

When reflecting on the experience Chapman said, "it was an honor."

Salujah asked Manchin: "When you decided to go into politics, what goals or dreams did you have?" when it was her turn.

"I wanted to know what his goals and dreams were because I have a very high standard for myself and I want to reach for the stars, so I wanted to know what he thought he could achieve," Salujah said.

Salujah said that she gained a lot from the Skype session. "It was really amazing and I took away a lot from this," she said.

Manny Arvon, superintendent of Berkeley County Schools, said he was impressed.

"As I was watching the students, not only the ones who presented the questions, but the audience, you could tell they were all in tune. I just asked a couple students what did they take away and what they took away was to put caring first and work hard.

"I thought the senator's message was perfect for our children in Berkeley County or any place to hear and I thought it was very simple, don't make excuses. We have the opportunity and the ability to get what we want through education and it's up to us and individuals to put as much into it as we want to get out of it," Arvon said.

In Manchin's closing statement he encouraged the students to strive for success to become better citizens and better students.

"I hope I've pushed you a little bit more, I hope I am pushing you because I believe in you more than you believe in yourself. I know how you can be, I know how good your families are, I know where you come from. Just do everything you can and push yourself. If you had someone you were mad at when you came to school, make up with them today. If you know you can work a little bit harder, go home and study a little more. Make more of an effort and see if you can improve just a little bit," Manchin said.

By:  Katiann Marshall