U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz addressed RE middle schoolers during assembly on Oct. 8, speaking about the 19th Amendment, which secured U.S. voting rights for women, and her years in Congress. She also took questions.
Invited as part of Ransom Everglades' celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Wasserman Shultz opened her presentation with a mini history lesson on women's suffrage. She used that story to encourage RE students to use their voices to make a difference.
"That story, and many stories throughout history, show us that change is possible," she said. "That fight for equality is ongoing, and it is led every day by people who stand up for what they believe in ... It is imperative, if you believe in something strongly, that you get involved .. Your voice is your greatest weapon."
Wasserman Shultz also described her journey into politics, explaining that she aspired as a child to be a veterinarian. In high school, she volunteered at an animal hospital. After she got involved in student government at the University of Florida, everything changed. She realized she had a passion for public service.
At age 26, she was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. In 2004, she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Students lined up at a microphone to ask a number of questions. One asked how often she disagreed with fellow members of Congress.
"Every day," she said to laughter, "on the hour."
She then added: "We disagree all the time. The lesson we have to try to perfect is how we disagree... Just because you have a disagreement with that person doesn't mean you have to be disagreeable."
Wasserman Schultz was welcomed by RE Head of the Middle School Rachel Rodriguez and introduced by History and Social Sciences faculty member Joe Mauro.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.