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Meeting Secretary Spellings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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On October 2, 2008, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. It was an amazing experience to interview an important member of the president's cabinet.

The night before my interview, I went to Harvard University in Boston to listen to the Madame Secretary speak. At the forum I learned a lot about her. I realized we had some similar views and some very different ones.

Margaret Spellings covered all the issues and a lot of facts that I was unaware of. I heard her opinions and many other key points that would help me in my interview. When her speech was finished, the questions began. The credentials of the questioners were unbelievable; if they didn't have PhDs in education they were professors or students at Harvard or exchange students who studied at another prestigious university. What an experience! The questions were quite complex and specific to Margaret Spellings' policies, and laws passed during her term. I learned much and was amazed by the beautiful campus. But I had an entirely different set of questions brewing that I wanted to ask her.

Early the next morning I traveled to Charlestown High School. I again met my co-interviewer, Teresa, who came all the way from New York City. We organized questions and prepared as the videographer arrived and set up. Finally, after hours of prep, we were ready. Then Margaret Spellings walked into the room. I could immediately see that she is very professional, but she had a smile on her face.

Teresa and I started out asking questions about homework. Her answers were perfectly reasonable, even from the perspective of a reluctant teenager. She showed a lot of understanding ­regarding the stress of ­being a teenager with school, activities, work, social life, and trying to get into a good college. She said that a little bit of stress can be good but society can get too competitive.

We asked her opinion on standardized tests. She stated that she completely supports it and says it is the hope for improving education throughout the United States.

All in all, I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am thankful for this amazing opportunity and was thrilled to represent Teen Ink. Ms. Spellings answered all of my questions ­extremely well, speaking very fast yet with perfect eloquence, and knowing her facts. Even if you disagree, you could not argue because she knew her information so well and was able to back up her opinions.

This interview was a great experience. I learned so much – even how it felt to sit in the president's cabinet – how inspiring and intriguing it must be. As Margaret Spellings left the building to catch a flight, she said, “Maybe some day one of you will be the secretary of education.” She asked us what colleges we would like to attend. My only answer was that with my wonderful day at Harvard, I hoped to someday return to the school where I interviewed the secretary of ­education.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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