Congressman Bill Foster visits Lincoln-Way West, encourages students to help others
Thursday, April 20, 2017

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Congressman Bill Foster of the 11th Congressional District of Illinois visited with students at Lincoln-Way West High School. The congressman attended a physics class, as well as Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Language & Culture classes. Congressman Foster was invited to observe classes by Lincoln-Way West teacher Linda Egnatz, who previously visited his office in Washington, D.C. during Language Advocacy Day in February.

While visiting Lincoln-Way West, Congressman Foster gave the Warriors a brief summary of his professional life. Prior to running for congress, he worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) as a high-energy physicist. While there, Foster and his team discovered the heaviest known form of matter: top quark.

The congressman discussed how his father’s experience as a civil rights lawyer influenced much the language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He emphasized “how different life was” prior to the Civil Rights Movement, and told the students to make sure they understood its importance. While reading his father’s papers after he had passed away, Congressman Foster felt compelled to make a career change. “I started thinking about this question that everyone has to answer, which is, ‘What fraction of your life is spent in service to your fellow man?’”

He then encouraged students to think about how they could affect the world around them. “You can serve at many different levels,” he said. “You can just tutor one individual who needs help and make the world a better place.” Congressman Foster encouraged students to get involved at all levels, suggesting service on local school boards and city councils. “Just think about the fraction of your life that you want to spend in service to your fellow man; that will give you a satisfaction that cannot be purchased with financial success.”

At the conclusion of his summary, students from AP Spanish Language and Culture classes had the opportunity to present to the congressman in Spanish. Students discussed their post-high school plans and stated how their knowledge of another language will be beneficial in future endeavors. Their presentations were met with applause from their fellow classmates and complimentary words from Congressman Foster.

“We were thrilled to have Congressman Foster at our school,” said Principal Dr. Monica Schmitt. “As a physicist and a member of Congress, he brings a unique perspective to politics. Our students were extremely interested in both aspects of his careers.”