JJC student trustee attends State of the Union
By Tony Graf email@example.com February 22, 2013 10:24AM
Keith Bryant (right), the student trustee at Joliet Junior College, attended President Obama’s State of the Union address as a guest of U.S. Rep. Bill Foster. | submitted photo
Keith Bryant, the student trustee at Joliet Junior College, personally attended President Obama’s State of the Union address, viewing the speech from the balcony of the U.S. House chamber.
In the balcony, Bryant sat one row up and around eight seats away from first lady Michelle Obama as the president spoke to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, invited Bryant to be a guest at the Feb. 12 event. Foster and Bryant walked to the Capitol from the congressman’s office at the Longworth House Office Building.
“I’m honored to be chosen. The experience, the atmosphere — it was definitely positive,” Bryant told The Herald-News.
Bryant is an alumnus of Joliet Central High School and Gompers Junior High School. He began studies at Joliet Junior College after leaving a career in construction, according to a statement from Foster’s office.
Bryant is studying network system security and information technology, and expects to graduate in May 2014, the statement said.
“I am honored to have Mr. Bryant as my guest for the State of the Union address,” Foster said. “His story serves as an important reminder of the need to invest in education and in training to equip workers with the skills needed to succeed in today’s economy. As we face potentially devastating cuts from the sequestration, I urge my colleagues in Congress to remember people like Mr. Bryant who are working to build a better future for their families and communities with training and education to get them on the path towards a career that will last.”
Bryant appreciated the historical significance of the event, at the beginning of Obama’s second term in office. He also said he is glad to be the first student trustee of the college to attend the State of the Union address.
“Joliet Junior College provides important programs for people like myself, trying to build new careers, and I’m proud to represent them here today,” he said last week.
Advocacy in D.C.
Bryant began his term as student trustee in the fall semester. He flew into Washington on Feb. 11, and spent the following couple of days at the National Legislative Summit, which gathered community college administrators, trustees and presidents from across the country.
College Trustee Jeff May, President Debra Daniels and Kelly Rohder, communications and external relations director, were in Washington with Bryant. These leaders were at the summit advocating for preservation of Pell Grant funding and the Workforce Investment Act, among advocacy efforts on other issues.