Rolling Meadows sophomore Kate Foley made a big impression on First Lady Dr. Jill Biden when she visited the school in November. Kate sat next to the First Lady during a round table discussion about the school’s Pathways to Careers program. On that day, she was the only student at the table, and she will be again tonight.

Kate Foley and Dr. Jill Biden listen to Dr. Michelé Smith of Harper College, back in November, about the success of career-related learning.

Kate was one of 27 guests personally invited to sit in the First Lady’s box for President Biden’s State of the Union address. She will be sitting with, among others, Paul Pelosi, husband of California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, as well as an ambassador from Ukraine, and Bono, the lead singer of U2.

“To be honest, I didn’t know who he was,” Kate conceded earlier today in a Zoom interview with Stephanie Kim, Communications Coordinator. Yet she said she is excited to meet him and the other dignitaries, adding she is “very nervous.”

The White House flew Kate and her mother to Washington this morning and they arranged for their flight home Wednesday night, giving them a full day to explore the nation’s capital.

According to a statement from the White House, each guest was invited because they personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech. In Kate’s case, she highlights the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to strengthening the economy and building pathways from high school to good-paying jobs, through career-connected learning.

“It’s incredible that this is actually happening. It wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t something random,” Kate said. “I’m here and I am going to be going (to the State of the Union).

The First Lady toured the engineering labs during the launch of National Apprentice Week.

“It’s really crazy that she remembers me.” Kate added. “I met her in November, once, so for me to have made a big impression, and realize that she remembers me is an unearthly feeling.”

Back in November, Kate described all of the hands-on activities with robots and other large scale machines, as well as projects in her chemistry and engineering classes. They are part of Rolling Meadows’ Pathways to Careers Program that explores Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

“My teachers have greatly informed my learning and interest through the projects we do,” Kate said at the time. “I realize that these are small projects, but small projects can lead to bigger projects in the future.”

Through this kind of hands-on, career-oriented learning, Kate has decided on a career in biomedical engineering, and she hopes her experience so far — and visibility tonight — will inspire other students to explore careers while still in high school.


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