The White House visits Aggieland on their Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour

Nakylah Carter, Senior Editor

Aggieland welcomed First Lady Jill Biden, Ph.D., and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Ph.D. for their first stop on the Department of Education’s Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour. 

Located in the Harold L. Martin Engineering and Research Complex, Biden and Cardona came to the university to acknowledge and appreciate NCAT’s efforts to train teachers, diversify the educational workforce and support the education of students K-12. 

“To better serve all of our students, our classrooms need diverse perspectives and the chance to learn from teachers of every single background and that’s why we’re here today to recruit you,” Biden said.

The ambiance of the event was less formal and more casual, featuring entertainment from the award-winning Aggie cheerleaders and Aggie Livewire. Honors students, Student Government Association (SGA) representatives and the royal court, students of College of Education, The STEM Early College at NCAT and The A&T Four Middle College were also invited and featured in the festivities. 

Sophomore elementary education student Jayden Seay was an honored student at the event and spoke first. Seay, a member of the inaugural cohort of February One scholars, shared his inspirational plight to Aggieland and why he believes he will make a difference in the education community.

“It’s really impactful,” Seay said. “I think a lot of the time education doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so it’s good to be a representative of the program that’s given me so much. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Chancellor Harold L. Martin spoke to the crowd first about NCAT’s recent accomplishments, followed by words by U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and state Sen. Gladys Robinson were among the attendees in the crowd.

The new month-old Aggie Academy STEAM school, catered to students 3-5, was a featured talking point throughout the event, with the FLOTUS inviting the featured students on stage during her speech. 

“To better serve all of our students, our classrooms need diverse perspectives and the chance to learn from teachers of every single background,” Biden said. 

Biden has commonly been an advocate for education and emphasized throughout her speech how important it was to her as she is currently teaching at Northern Virginia Community College.

‘Recruit, Respect and Retain’ is the campaign slogan for the Road to Success tour highlighting that the teaching industry is currently low on talent, especially diverse teachers. Teachers are also deciding to leave the field due to financial struggles, large class-to-teacher ratios and other factors that contribute to discouragement.  

Cardona’s speech focused on uplifted NCAT’s success in diversifying education and promoting students to aspire to be teachers. 

“There’s a reason why I was so excited to come to N.C. A&T as the first stop on the Road to Success Bus Tour,” Cardona said. “That’s because of that Aggie Pride. It’s because you take pride, not just in your history, but in your potential. Because you take pride in high expectations.” 

“It’s your school that’s raising the bar, people. That’s what we need to see a lot more of. We need to raise the bar for how we recognize the potential in every learner.” 

This tour will make stops at more local cities throughout the month after The Department of Education announced almost $25 million in new grants this week to help recruit and train teachers. 

The grants will be allocated to 22 universities featuring four North Carolina universities: more than $2.3 million for High Point University, $872,000 for East Carolina, $713,000 for Winston-Salem State and almost $560,000 for UNC-Charlotte.