Congressman Comes to SEHS


Kimberly Cruz

Congressman Arrington with Earth Community First Responders

Annabelle Anchondo, Writer

It is not unusual for a guest speaker to come to Springlake-Earth High School. However, SEHS didn’t just have any guest speaker; they were joined by a U.S. Representative! 

Congressman Jodey Arrington traveled to Springlake-Earth High School on Friday September 3 to address high school students, teachers, and community members in attendance. During his speech, Congressman Arrington honored the first responders and active-duty military members in the audience. He also explained the fundamental principles of the Unites States. 

“I was very impressed with the message,” Principal Cindy Furr stated, “I think that because it ties into the messages that we are also trying to make our focus this year.” 

The day before Congressman Arrington’s arrival, NHS members held a meeting and discussed some concepts that NHS sponsor Gwen Parish noticed aligned with Arrington’s speech.  

“We are the people we have been waiting for,” Parish said. “When you see a change that needs to happen, work in a positive manner to make it happen.” 

The Congressman came to SE because he is also a small-town country boy. 

“[He wanted to] try to inspire them like I was inspired to be their best and to pursue their dreams,” Arrington stated. 

Within the hour and a half, Congressman Arrington had managed to not only inspire one individual, but entire groups of students. One student, Oscar Flores, shared how Arrington was an inspiration not only to him but others in football and band as well. 

“Some of my friends think we’re not going to make it to state in football and in band,” Oscar confessed. “I just feel like the speech really inspired us, and it will give us more hope and make us believe we can do it with God by our side and with the hard work and effort.” 

Congressman Arrington explained to the audience the dependence we have on God and that God has given each and every one of us our freedoms. 

“Our government is in God we trust, and that is what we stand on and we need to stand firm for it,” Principal Furr asserted. 

Our government is in God we trust, and that is what we stand on and we need to stand firm for it.

— Principal Cindy Furr

Furr also mentioned that we should recognize those who serve in the service business, and she was glad that Arrington did. His recognition of active-duty members especially touched those with family in the military. 

“I appreciated that he made a particular focus on the military and reminded the student body of how few people are really sitting up willing to put their life on the line and potentially give it up in order to protect our freedom,” Parish said. “Hopefully students will value those freedoms more.” 

One of Congressman’s main points in his speech was freedom comes at a cost, and many were hoping that audience members especially listened in to that part of the speech. 

“I hope that the students realized that free isn’t free because there is a lot of promise out there of free,” science teacher Leslie Daugherty told me. “The handouts, the government checks every month, the unemployment wages, free college, free health care, it’s not free. Someone’s paying for it.” 

Alongside military members, Arrington also acknowledged first responders and what they do to provide service to Americans and the difference they make in our everyday lives. Susan Templeton was one of the first responders at the assembly Friday, and she shared the day-to-day life of a first responder for Earth and what it meant to her that Congressman Arrington acknowledged that. 

“Everybody has a schedule with set times that they’re to respond for Earth EMS. Being on that schedule means being in town, or within 15 minutes say, for at least 12 hours,” Templeton said. “Sometimes people do 24 hours straight. Sometimes because we’re so short, we’ve been known to do three days straight.” 

Congressman Arrington giving his speech to the student body. (Cassi Furr)

The closest hospitals and emergency rooms include ones in Muleshoe, Littlefield, and Dimmit which are 18 to 27 minutes away from Earth. On top of transport time, first responders have other duties such as restocking the ambulance with medical supplies and completing paperwork after every call.   

“You’re looking at 2 1/2 hours out of your day which we all signed up to do. It’s very tough being a volunteer. But it has its rewards,” Templeton admitted. “It’s hard sometimes, physically hard, can be a mentally hard job to do, and I appreciate him recognizing us. I appreciate how the rest of the crowd treated us that day.” 

Also throughout his speech, Congressman Arrington referred to West Texas as the food fueling capital of the world. He reminded students that agriculture is not only our way of life, but also especially important to the nation. 

“Not a lot of people know how much agriculture means to America,” senior Katy Jones said, “So I think they will look at that differently.” 

If someone is not in agriculture, it is rare for them to truly understand how important agriculture really is and what difference it makes in this world. 

“You don’t realize how important your day workers are, how important your farmers are, how important your ranchers are because truly this area is the lifeblood of the world,”  Daugherty agreed. 

Congressman Arrington poses with the SE Wolverine football team!

Even people that decide to move away from their small hometown, once they are away from it, they soon realize how important their community was and it instills pride in an individual. Congressman Arrington was one of these individuals. 

“I always talk about we’re the food fueling fiber capital of the world, and I brag about the values of rural America and that rural Americans and folks from small-town are the backbone of our country. I swell up with great pride when I’m talking about it,” Arrington shared. 

A local rancher shared what it personally means to her to be a part of that lifeblood. 

“You know you’re feeding people. If you look at one steer, a yearling steer that weighs 600 pounds, look at how much meat actually comes from that one steer and how many families that feeds,” Daugherty commented. “I mean you feel it. You really feel it when you’re in it.” 

Being a small-town boy and someone who grew up in Plainview, Congressman Arrington finds special pride in being able to represent West Texas and all they mean to the United States.  

I’m just proud and honored beyond words that I get to be the voice for West Texas.

— Congressman Arrington

“I’m just proud and honored beyond words that I get to be the voice for West Texas,” Arrington said, “For small towns, small town values, for farmers and ranchers and energy producers, for public small schools, and just all the small businesses, all the things that makes small town USA really special and make them work.”