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Congresswoman Fires Up Middle School Students to Study Technology

Rep. Anna Eshoo also told them what it was like to hug Bill Clinton and hang with Barack Obama.

The advanced students in Carrie Tibbs' class at Campbell Middle School with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Campbell School Superintendent Eric Andrews. (Photo: Brad Kava, Patch)
The advanced students in Carrie Tibbs' class at Campbell Middle School with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Campbell School Superintendent Eric Andrews. (Photo: Brad Kava, Patch)
Written by Brad Kava

When Anna Eshoo was in middle school she wanted to be an eye doctor. She didn't know why, but she liked going to the doctor and all the things they did.

But a teacher told her to forget her dream. "Girls aren't good at math," she told her. 

Eshoo, who has served in Congress for more than 20 years, was at Campbell Middle School Thursday to encourage girls -- and boys-- not to be held back from their dreams. She told the advanced technology class of 7th and 8th graders they should think about working with technology and computers, where there is so much innovation in the Silicon Valley she represents.

"She's pretty amazing," said 8th grader Evan Muller one of the few in the class who could already write code. "She's so enthusiastic."

Eshoo came bearing gifts -- a beautiful Congressional flag-- and friends, two high tech corporate representatives who had programs designed for kids. Mark Bregman, the chief technology officer of communications company, Neustar, sponsored the event and the giveaway of a program by the San Francisco company EverFi, called My Digital Life, which helps children learn to safely use the Internet.

Bregman said his company was there because it needs more skilled engineers and wants to get kids excited about the field while they were young. He plans to send young computer programmers to the class to help inspire the students.

"The sky's the limit for you," Eshoo told them."There isn't anyone around who is going to tell you what I was told, that you can't be that because girls are not good at math."

She also noted that women still weren't represented as they should be. "I want to see in my lifetime women CEOs in Silicon Valley."

Only in their fourth day of classes, the kids were reserved during the question and answer period, but teacher Carrie Tibbs wasn't.

"How many times have you met the president?" she asked.

"Oh my goodness, I can't count how many times. Very many times."

"Is he as cool in person as he seems?" the teacher followed up.

"He is cool. Yup. Yup. He's a no-nonsense guy. He's not a backslapper, very different from Bill Clinton. If President Clinton were here, he'd put his arm around you. President Obama doesn't like to be the one who does all the talking. He takes everything in and then he says what he wants to say. And mind you, he doesn't suffer fools lightly. You have to know what you're talking about."

The teacher then asked how Obama was different from President George Bush.

"I worked well with President Bush, even though we disagreed on some issues. He had a wonderful warmth about him...He's very personable, very warm and very gracious."

Then, with more political gusto, this first generation American of Armenian and Assyrian descent talked about diversity and immigration to the kids, telling them that this is the first country built by immigrants and to deny immigration would be like choking off arteries around the heart of the country.

hutchi3 August 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Far from reserved this teacher is enamored w/ the great one

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