U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was offi cially in the East Valley this week to talk to Arizona State University students about federal financial aid.
But the California Democrat was focused on a younger group of students Tuesday. Pelosi planned her schedule around lunch with two of her grandchildren and four of their classmates at Scottsdale’s Cochise Elementary School.
“Coming to Arizona is always a personal visit for me, as well as professional,” Pelosi said. “If I lived in Arizona, I’d probably be getting lunch with my grandchildren every day.”
It was the first time Pelosi had visited Cochise since her grandchildren, 10-year-old Alexander Prowda and 8-year-old Madeleine Prowda, started attending the school in August.
Principal John Francois said Pelosi talked a lot about how dedicated the staff was as she got a personal tour of the school, and especially complimented the special education teacher.
“They’re doing the most important work in our country, teaching our children,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said with a son-in-law who teaches special education at a Tempe high school and a daughter who teaches special education in Texas, she hears a lot about educational issues “at the dinner table and over the phone.”
Pelosi also said she was impressed with a lot of the school’s resources, including a media lab where students film morning announcements and a special science classroom where teachers can get help from a scientist conducting classroom experiments.
After the tour, Pelosi sat with her grandchildren and their friends in an outdoor courtyard the school reserves for parents coming to eat with their kids, her grinning granddaughter sitting on her lap.
Pelosi said that while her grandchildren understand from attending her swearingin ceremony that she has an important job and know it’s unusual to have a female speaker of the House of Representatives, they don’t really know what she does.
Neither did several students who passed Pelosi’s table after they finished their own lunches. Many asked the principal who Pelosi was and why people were taking pictures.
However, one student who was eating at another outdoor table stood, pointed at Pelosi and yelled, “It’s the Speaker! Is it really the Speaker?”