Raymond Baccari, Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro, & Jenarita Plante
Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor & Anchor Staff Writer
Rhode Island College had a big visit from First Lady Jill Biden on Wednesday. During this visit, Biden met with education majors to discuss how critical the teaching profession is, and shared what made her want to become a teacher.
After a networking event with education majors and Handshake, Biden spoke to a jam-packed crowd in the Adams Library. Before her speech, Biden was greeted by RIC President Dr. Jack Warner, Gov. Dan McKee, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and introduced by Grace Wells-Dannenfelser, a current student at RIC majoring in education.
“Hearing Grace’s story—and being here with so many bright young students—takes me back to the moment when I decided to become a teacher all those years ago,” Biden said. “When I first started college, I wanted to go into what I thought would be the glamorous world of fashion marketing. But it just didn’t give me what I was looking for.”
Biden further explained what motivated her to become an educator.
“Instead, I found that spark when I volunteered with adults who couldn’t read. I realized then just how much books had shaped me—how I loved falling into them and escaping, or learning something new,” added Biden. “It broke my heart that there were people who didn’t know that joy. And it dawned on me that reading was a gift I could give to someone else.”
The First Lady also stressed how important it is for the U.S. to recruit and hire more teachers, saying, “Teaching isn’t just a job to me. It’s a calling—a way to live out the belief that we can shape our corner of the world, one student at a time. And I think many of you may hear that voice calling you, too. Right now, schools across the country need more teachers.”
During her speech, Biden also highlighted the work her husband, President Joe Biden, has done to address teacher shortages.
She said, “Our president created historic investments to safely re-open schools. He’s addressing the mental health and academic needs of our students and delivering on loan forgiveness for public servants. He’s strengthening programs like the ones here at RIC that give high school students a head start on their teaching degree.”
After her visit at RIC, The First Lady attended two campaign events. Her first stop was a rally for McKee at the Graduate Hotel located in Providence.
“From coaching basketball to running a family business to his public service, Dan [McKee] has dedicated his life to supporting the families of Rhode Island,” she said. “He got shots in the arms during the pandemic, he’s overseeing one of the lowest unemployment rates on record, and made sure that you all had tax relief.”
The First Lady also spoke in support of Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who is running for Rhode Island’s open seat in Congressional District 2.
She said, “[Magaziner] knows that Rhode Islanders depend on their Social Security and Medicare, that you need to be able to afford your prescriptions, and that’s exactly what he’s going to fight for in Congress. He stands up for the right to choose, and the protection of our privacy. And he is going to hold big corporations accountable when they put profits over on people.”
Her final stop in Rhode Island was at a campaign event for Magaziner in Cranston at the Santa Maria Di Prata Society.