By Chad Frey
Monday is a holiday, though one that appears on few calendars. And while many calendars don't designate Sept. 17 as Constitution Day, there will be small celebrations locally.
Two of those will feature Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). The Wichita representative who is running for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives will be on the Bethel College campus in the morning, and at Newton High School in the afternoon.
"He will speak about Constitution Day," said Rachel Bauer Taylor, director of communications for Pompeo. "It's an important principle and an important day in our history. ... It's about understanding where citizens fit and can participate in our democracy."
As of Thursday, his office said he plans to have copies of the constitution available to give to students.
It's a day both Bethel, and Newton High School, is looking forward to according to their respective administrators.
"We're pleased that Congressman Pompeo chose to do this for us," said Perry White, president of Bethel College. "It is the obligation of higher education to expose students to different points of view. He can bring a perspective to his work that our students don't hear on campus often."
Pompeo will speak during Bethel's convocation. His presentation, which his spokesman said will center around Constitution Day, will start at 10 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center.
The congressman will speak for between 30 and 45 minutes, leaving the remainder of the convocation for questions from students.
"Our students are, certainly, pretty astute and anyone who presents at convo should be prepared for some sharp questions," White said. "I think is a good opportunity for him to express his views, and a great chance for some dialog. ... It's important for students to see and hear, to see these legislators as real people and interact with them."
Pompeo will also spend about an hour at Newton High School in the afternoon — meeting with members of the senior class at about 2 p.m. during seminar period.
"I think it is a good opportunity for kids to learn and ask questions of a U.S. Congressmen, regardless of the views they have. It is good learning experience for our students," said principal Ken Rickard.
Rickard said attendance of the congressman's presentation is voluntary for students — and seniors the the students "he should address."
He pointed out that some of the senior class will he eligible to vote in the November election.
However, he was clear this was not considered a campaign stump.
"If I didn't the kids could learn from this, I would rethink having him," Rickard said. "The kids are not required to go, and teachers understand that is their choice."