Rep. Rush Holt (D-Dist.12) dropped by Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley on March 9 to congratulate students and staff on its designation as a Blue Ribbon School and to answer questions on everything from science to support for small business to health-care reform.
The Blue Ribbon Schools program of the federal Department of Education honors schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to a high level.
“This is a big deal,” Holt told the students gathered in an assembly in the East Brunswick school. “You should talk about this at every opportunity you get because not that many schools across the U.S. get recognized.
“This is the kind of school from where you will go and continue to do good things in the future.”
Telling the youngsters he had always been impressed with the school, Holt explained that he was a physicist who previously taught math and science.
Asked to name his favorite founding father, Holt offered Benjamin Franklin, “because he combined science and politics.”
The congressman then watched as students performed Israeli dances before he headed to the school’s library to meet with seventh- and eighth-graders. He passed out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution and answered more questions in advance of the students’ upcoming trip to Washington.
Holt told the students he regretted voting for the Patriot Act and said it was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and anthrax scare.
“In the United States we don’t detain people without probable cause just because we don’t trust them or are suspicious,” Holt told the students. “That is what makes the U.S. a workable society.”
The previous night, students, their parents, and staff members went to the township hall, where Mayor David Stahl and the East Brunswick Council presented them with a proclamation congratulating the school on its designation.