Fourth District Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-Brookline) visited Southeastern Regional Vocational High School in Easton Friday morning to tour the facility and meet students and faculty.
Kennedy, who said vocational education should be "a focal point of a lot of our education efforts moving forward" wanted to see how the school operated.
"He called out of the blue," said Southeastern Superintendent Luis Lopes. "He was very interested in vocational education."
The school is currently in the midst of a $32.9 million renovation, thanks to funds from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. New lockers, renovated hallways, and a brand new gymnasium were part of Kennedy's tour.
Most importantly though, the newly-elected Congressman was interested in seeing the type of education and the many programs Southeastern offered.
"I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity and getting the chance to see the programs here and get a chance to meet the kids and see the work they’re doing," he said. "Also, to have a chance to meet some of the teachers and what they’re doing with the kids and really see in action that form of education that actually trains you to get to the work force right away."
Kennedy said he was particularly impressed with the students and their enthusiasm for their projects and programs.
"They’re proud of what they are doing and that is such an important piece and that’s a great foundation to have," he said.
Kennedy was joined by Lopes, a small group of students and the Southeastern Regional School Committee.
Committee Member Mark Linde of Brockton hopes Kennedy will follow in the footsteps of his late uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy.
"His uncle was a champion of vocational education and I think he will be too," Linde said. "I think the fact that he's here is indicative of that."
"It's a pleasure to have him," added School Committee Chair Michael Pietrowski of Easton. "It puts a focus on vocational education."
After being sworn in two weeks ago, the freshman House member was recently appointed to the Middle East and Terrorism subcommittees of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Kennedy also serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where he is awaiting his subcommittee appointments.