On Oct. 21, President Biden visited Delaware State University in Dover to speak about his student loan forgiveness initiative. Along with current Delaware State students, Biden shared the stage with a group of students from the Early College School at Delaware State University. In the audience were other students and the school’s three administrators, including head of school Dr. Evelyn Edney, who is a member of the NASSP Board of Directors. She writes about what the visit was like for her and her students.
One reason they wanted a few of our students on stage was to highlight our whole system here at the university. We believe we’re a model for the country. Our kids start in 7th grade, and they go through our high school, and then they can go to Delaware State and can even go on to earn a doctoral degree. Now, with the possibility of being able to graduate debt free, that’s amazing for these students.
Before the president spoke, he was introduced—and this was a very proud moment for me—by a Delaware State student who was a 2019 graduate of our school. I was literally crying as Zach, who is a college senior this year, was up there introducing him. Because of the expanded loan forgiveness, students like Zach will not have any debt and will really be able to start right away pursuing their dreams.
The kids who got to attend were so excited. The university told me on Monday that we would be having a special visitor, but we didn’t know who. And our students didn’t know until Thursday, the day before the event, that they would be going. Since the event was at the end of the school day, most of the students who could attend were our athletes or members of the band.
When I told them who was coming, their mouths dropped and they said things like, “Are you serious?” I said, “Absolutely. You get to be about 10 feet from the president.” In fact, some of them were closer than that because, once the president was done speaking, he went over to every single kid and shook their hands and took pictures with groups of them. Some of them were pointing to me in the audience and saying, “Did you get that picture?”
Once we found out who was going to be on stage, we told them to make sure to wear Hornet (our mascot) colors and gear with ECHS (Early College High School) on it to make sure people watching CNN that night could see it.
This was a really big week for our school. Besides the visit from President Biden, we also hosted Sen. Tom Carper. He’s the reason our school exists because he visited a similar school in Ohio years back, liked the idea, and brought it to the university president at the time. He talked a little bit about the history of the school in his remarks during the event. When he found out we expanded to middle school this year, he wanted to come and visit. So, we had our senator one day and the president the next.
Expanding student loan forgiveness for public educators is the right thing to do. It will incentivize more excellent candidates to enter the profession and reduce nationwide teacher, school leader, and support staff shortages. With just a few clicks, you can join NASSP in sending a prewritten message to your members of Congress now and ask them to expand educator student loan forgiveness programs!