In the News

Students, staff impressed by US senator’s tour stop

Matt Resnick | Chanute Tribune

United States Senator Jerry Moran was in the house Wednesday morning.

While he didn’t give a formal speech, Moran (R-Great Bend) toured Chanute High School, visiting with students and staff.

Student Government representative Carson Cuesta said Moran’s visit was a big deal. 

“Most people think Chanute is forgotten and doesn’t have a lot of things to offer here in town,” Cuesta said. “I think his visit showed that people really do have an interest in Chanute, they do want to visit here, and they want us to do great things.” 

Cuesta said that based on his observations, he believes that Moran genuinely cares for the wellbeing of the district.

“Having Senator Moran tour our high school and have a genuine care for student life and what teachers and students are doing in our school district is just incredible,” he said. 

Moran’s interactions with teachers included questions related to their backgrounds, such as institutions of higher learning they previously attended on their paths to Chanute.

“It was just really great to see his interactions with both students and staff,” Cuesta said. “He wanted to hear what was going on with the school, and also asked ‘what are the highlights of Chanute?’”

With the overall toxicity of the national political landscape, Cuesta said personal politics did not come into play amongst students or staff during Moran’s visit.

“People either didn’t know who he was or were just impressed that a Senator was here,” Cuesta said. 

While touring the Future Farmers of America program’s nearby greenhouse, Cuesta said that an overanxious student narrowly missed spraying Moran with a high-powered hose.

“I thought that was kind of funny,” Cuesta said with a chuckle, noting that in true political fashion, Moran shrugged off the incident, even sharing a lighthearted moment with the student prior to departing. 

Cuesta indicated that it spoke volumes that Moran made the trip unsolicited. 

“Nobody at Chanute worked to get him to visit our high school,”  he said, adding that he and StuGo President Emma Atherton were alerted of Moran’s stop two days in advance and were asked to take the lead on the tour. 

“I just thought it was really cool that he was the one that initiated it,” Cuesta said. 

Assistant Principal Tyler Applegate concurred with Cuesta that Moran’s visit was beneficial for the district, saying that the tour showcased the strides students were making. Moran stopped by several classrooms, even taking time to speak with first-year choir instructor Rebecca Lowder. Moran also checked out the art room, the TV broadcasting class and the library.

“He also peeked in on students taking state assessments. Just a variety of things,” Applegate said.

Applegate said Moran was well-received by students, noting that he engaged in much interaction.

“They were really excited that we had a sitting US Senator in our building,” he said. “A lot of students asked to take selfies, shake hands or just talk to him for a minute. He asked for insight as to what can be improved, what they really enjoy about school, and what their (post-graduation) plans were. It was a good experience for students.”

Moran assumed his Senate seat in January 2011 and won re-election in November 2016. He is currently the ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and has previously chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Moran was previously a member of the US House of Representative from 1997-2011, having represented Kansas’ 1st Congressional District.