On Monday, March 21st, the United States of America’s Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, met with Harold Washington College students to discuss learning outside of the classroom and how much Chicago can offer via world class museums like The Art Institute of Chicago. The Art institute offers all City Colleges students free access to the Art Institute with I.D. The students joined the Secretary for personal tour given by the Institute’s leaders and art experts, including those from SAIC.

In addition, the students brought their personal art to discuss with him as he too is a self-taught artist.

“Meeting someone of his accomplishments was inspiring and I found him to be authentic. I was glad we could give him a warm welcome and I want thank him for inviting community college students on this adventure as sometimes we are overlooked. The art museum tour was so cool and I hope to get to the Art Institute more often. It warmed my heart to know the Secretary appreciated my art,” said Jocelyn Romero, aspiring artist.

Pictured with their respective art pieces are Harold Washington students, Jocelyn Romero and Evelyn Leon.

“Meeting the Secretary of Education and being able to privately converse in our native Spanish language was even more powerful than the invitation itself. He motivated and demonstrated to me that the sky is the limit when it comes to scholastic hard work. Being praised by members of this prestigious museum vindicated every single one of the students present and personally has set me on a path to create work worthy of being represented at the Art Institute. Thanks for the opportunity, and I sincerely hope there are more to come! Community college is a force to be reckoned with,” said Erwin Ruiz. He is working toward an associate degree in photography at Harold Washington College.