WCS faculty member Joseph Greer and upperclassmen Hannah Jonesia, Elizabeth Pickett, Lanz Reyes and Arye Bhide met Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee and the seventh lieutenant governor of Maryland, while attending the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

Joseph Greer, J.D., who teaches AP Economics and other middle and high school government and social studies classes, took four students to the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival held Sept. 22-24 on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

The weekend featured panels and discussions on current events, public policy, politics, and economics, and Greer encouraged the students to “buddy up” and attend panels on topics that interested them most. He observed the students asking thoughtful questions and taking notes during discussions on higher education, climate change and national security, among others. Of special interest to the students given Houston’s recent experience with Hurricane Harvey, the students paid close attention as a panel of current and former mayors — Steve Adler (Austin), Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Ind.), Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio) and Annise Parker (formerly Houston) — talked about dealing with both extreme drought and epic rainfall.

The WCS students were given free access — a savings of $50 for each educator/student ticket — by event organizers as a good will gesture in the wake of Harvey — which caused flood damage to the home of one of the students attending — and the ongoing challenges facing the greater Houston area.

“The students were exposed to different viewpoints on many different policies, and they all told me the experience was enlightening, and that they would like to attend an event like this again in the future,” Greer said.

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