U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado, of the 19th Congressional District, joined Chatham High School’s Business Law class for a virtual visit on December 1. The meeting was the result of an earlier assignment given to the class by teacher Michael Loomis, who asked each student to invite someone to the class who has some connection to the law. Tatum Shea, a junior in the class, chose the congressman as her invitee.
Rep. Delgado began the visit by discussing how he grew up in Schenectady, NY, where both of his parents worked for General Electric. He shared how academics were extremely valued in his family, which helped motivate him to excel to a level where he received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. Though his father wanted him to pursue a profession as a doctor, Rep. Delgado felt his calling was in the field of law. He graduated from Harvard Law School (where he met his wife). He then moved to California, writing and performing songs as a hip hop artist. His songs were typically about various causes and injustices in our society and the world. Eventually, he moved back to NY and worked at a law firm for several years before turning to public service. Rep. Delgado’s passion for just causes and equity led him into the pursuit of his current position in the US House of Representatives where he is now serving his second term.
Senior Sonam Verma asked, “Why leave a highly successful, highly paid position as a lawyer, to that of a congressman?” Rep. Delgado answered that he felt he needed to follow his calling to help “bring about change, to inspire people to help push our society to be more equitable, to be more fair, to be more just.” He continued, “If I could try to use my experiences for the good of the public and not for myself,” by pursuing a role as a US Representative, he could satisfy his internal struggle for fulfilling his life’s purpose and help our country through a time when the US is “wrestling with its own equilibrium.”
Mr. Loomis commented on the visit, “I was extremely pleased and honored that Congressman Delgado took the time to talk with us. He was so open and honest about his life, family, and struggles. The experience for students to have a conversation with an elected official is not something that happens often. This call helped them see a personal side of a person in office, which is not something you really get from media events, the press, or political advertisements.”
Shea’s reflection upon the visit was, “I loved getting to speak with Rep. Delgado and I thought it went very well. Not only is he super kind, laid back, and easy to talk to, but he is also incredibly smart and has such an amazing story to tell. It was such an honor getting to talk to him.”
Junior Noah Fowler asked Rep. Delgado if he was planning to remain as a representative or pursue something higher. The congressman’s response detailed how throughout his life, no matter what he did, he had the attitude that he would “do all I can in this role.” He described how opportunities “only present themselves if you’re doing the best at what you’re doing and you give everything you’ve got in the role you’re currently in.” He said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I can control what I do as your congressman. And I do know that I want to be great as a congressman. I want people to look at the work that I am doing and the way I am going about doing it… and have them say ‘That’s how you’re supposed to do it.’”
Junior Nathaniel Loomis had this to say, “The visit from Rep. Delgado was actually more interesting than I expected. I thought it would be a boring presentation with people arguing about politics and Rep. Delgado showing bias and being one sided. However, he is actually a pretty cool dude and I am glad we got to speak to a celebrity like him.”
Junior Ava Powers asked, “What can younger people do in their community to help with everything that is going on?” Rep. Delgado answered that students should believe in their power, figure out what causes they are passionate about through trying different things, and engage with local associations and nonprofits in those areas. “Continue to work on yourself, continue to build your identity. You have a lot of time, Lord willing, to figure this out,” he said. “Through these efforts, students will mature into who they are and, through patience, they’ll gain the experience to be able to eventually lead in those areas.”
Powers reflected, “I thought his visit to our class was an amazing experience. I have met him before and I really appreciate how easy he is to talk to, especially since a lot of politicians can be intimidating. It was truly inspiring to hear about his path to becoming a congressman and what obstacles he had to go through, since it is not an easy thing to do. It was really awesome he took the time out of his day to do this for our class especially since he’s a very busy person. He also seemed excited to talk and answered the questions very well and in depth. I hope he can come back one day in the future to talk more. He was a great guest to have!”
A picture of the meet was posted on the congressman’s official Facebook page. The posting read, “I really enjoyed my virtual visit to Chatham High School’s Business Law class today. It was great to connect with the students, discuss my work in Congress to advocate for our communities, and answer questions about my priorities for next year. Thanks for having me!”
ABOUT BUSINESS LAW
Business Law is a full-year elective class typically reserved for high school juniors and seniors. The class enables students to receive college credit through an agreement with Columbia Greene Community College. In the class, students learn the law fundamentals of business contracts, sales law, employment law, and much more. For more information about business courses at Chatham High School, please contact Michael Loomis at firstname.lastname@example.org.