State Rep. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, visited St. Mary's Catholic School in Niles Friday morning, capping off Catholic Schools Week for the elementary school. Proos talked about the importance of education and answered questions about his job. (Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER)
State Rep. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, visited St. Mary's Catholic School in Niles Friday morning, capping off Catholic Schools Week for the elementary school. Proos talked about the importance of education and answered questions about his job. (Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

St. Mary’s wraps up Catholic Schools Week with Rep. Proos visit

Published 12:31am Saturday, February 6, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star

Where was the first Catholic school? How many people are there in the world? Do you have any pets?

Those were just some of the questions Rep. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, fielded Friday when he visited St. Mary’s Catholic School in Niles, capping off Catholic Schools Week for the elementary school.

Proos, a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School, spoke about the importance of education, specifically talking about the benefits of Catholic schools. Proos has two children enrolled at Lake Michigan Catholic.

“Catholic schools are unique in that you are not only learning reading, writing and math, but you also get to talk about how God is important to the learning that you do,” he said. “Christ-centered discussion is an important thing to be proud of and thank your parents for.”

He also talked about the importance of college education, mentioning his own experience at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution.

Proos asked the students what they liked most about being in Catholic school.

He related each of their answers to what he said to be the three components of Catholic education – mind, body and spirit.

The representative then explained his job to the students.

Proos told them his most important job is to listen.

“As a representative I try my best to do one thing – to listen,” he said. “Then hopefully I make the right decision for the people.”

To explain how difficult it is to represent the opinions of 90,000 people, he asked the students what toppings they wanted on their pizza for lunch.

“If I am supposed to choose for you what we are supposed to have for lunch and half of you want cheese and the other half want pepperoni, what am I supposed to do?” he asked.
After fielding questions about his family, pets and job, Proos got the question of the day from a young boy in the front row.

“Would you like to represent more people?” he asked.

Proos, who is in the final year of his term as a state representative, said he has had people encourage him to run for Ron Jelinek’s state senate seat in this year’s election.

“So the answer is yes,” Proos said.

Proos said he tries to visit a school per week and says meeting with students is one of the highlights of his job.

“I get fantastic questions from students about pets and my favorite color to insightful, hard-hitting questions of the day,” he said.

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