‘Scary’ Opportunity for Des Moines Teen, But She Overcomes Nerves with Presidential Candidate Joining Her on Stage
DES MOINES, Iowa — Caroline Johnson admits she has been nervous. For a couple of reasons, really. Caroline is a senior at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. People keep asking her the question that most high school students get: “Where are you going to go to college?” She has some ideas, both in Iowa and beyond its borders. But Caroline worries that money could be an issue. “Right now, looking at all the schools that I want to go to and their prices. And this is not realistic,” Caroline said, “and that sucks.”
She hopes that U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate from Massachusetts, will do something about her plight. That's why she agreed to volunteer on Warren's Iowa campaign. That volunteerism earned her the invitation to introduce Warren before her fellow high school students Monday.
"Even though it's going to be scary," Caroline told Channel 13 moments before she brought Warren to the stage, "I think it's an amazing opportunity that she's coming to our school. I got asked to speak. It's so cool!"
Warren has proposed having taxpayers pay the cost of tuition at community colleges and public universities. She also supports the idea of eliminating most student college debt. After Caroline introduced her at the Roosevelt campaign event, Warren added to her campaign ideas for education with an $800 billion plan that would give districts more money to educate lower-income students and students with learning challenges. The plan also provides more money for schools to provide breakfast and lunch to schools and additional funds that districts could spend on teacher pay, counselors, building repairs or other various needs.
Caroline acknowledges that some voters don't agree that taxpayers should be forced to pay trillions to help students go to college or pay off college debt. But she feels like the proposal helps her generation succeed in the future. "You go through your entire life being encouraged to go to college and you're like, 'yes, this is the goal,'" Caroline said, "And then you get there and it feels impossible."
But she believes that committing more resources to education pays off. "Believe that everyone deserves a right to higher education," she added.