U.S. Congressman Timothy Ryan, of Niles, spoke to second grade students at Rhodes Elementary School last week about the various branches and departments of government and his job as a representative for citizens in his district.
''We want to make sure you have someone to speak for you in Washington, D.C.'' Ryan said.
Choosing volunteers from the second grade audience, Ryan used students to demonstrate government departments and explain their purpose.
The Niles Times / Kathleen Evanoff
U.S. Rep. Timothy Ryan spoke to students at Rhodes Elementary School last week using volunteers to demonstrate the different branches of government. Following the presentation, Ryan answered questions from students and posed for photos. Pictured with Ryan, from left, are Kaitlin Butts, Mya McCroby and Shawn Ellwood.
Shawn Ellwood was chosen to represent the senate and Mya McCroby was selected to represent the house of representatives.
''As a representative in the house, I am one of 435 other people who have to make decisions,'' Ryan told the students.
To break it down even more, Ryan told the students to imagine they had to choose a national color. Mya chose pink as her favorite color and Shawn chose blue.
''Imagine I had to sit down with 435 other people to narrow it down to one color,'' he said. ''After we decided between pink or blue, then it would go to 100 more people in the senate. This whole system works because we compromise,'' he said.
Ryan selected student Kaitlin Butts to represent the president of the United States.
''For the rest of the day,'' Ryan told the students, '' you have to refer to Kaitlyn as Madam President.''
Following the presentation, students held a question and answer session. Some of the students represented their classrooms with questions they discussed with their teacher prior to Ryan's visit.
One important question posed to Ryan by students was ''What would you do to stop bullying in the schools and in society?''
Students came up with their own solutions including increasing detentions and telling a parent or the school principal about any bullying incidents.
Ryan agreed that the problem of bullying was an important issue and recommended to the student that they make an agreement to always try to ''help the little guy'' when they see an incident of bullying.
Students also asked what Ryan did before he became a congressman and who were the leaders that inspired him. Ryan responded by saying when he was younger he was inspired by his teachers at John F. Kennedy High School. Today, he said, he is inspired by people who are willing to take risks and especially by very young people who overcome challenges.
''What have you learned since you've been a congressman?'' a student asked.
''I've learned that people really want to make a difference,'' Ryan said, ''and it can happen, even in small ways.''
Ryan said afterward that he was impressed with the students' questions.
''They were all very good,'' he said. ''I think Niles is going to be OK.''