CHEROKEE, Kan. — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran said a last-minute schedule change gave him a chance to visit southeast Kansas.

He said the purpose of the trip is to take a look at how the federal government can help schools prepare the next generation for the jobs that are out there, but it also gave him a chance to find some inspiration.

“We gave Senator Moran a tour to show him the school and our career and technical education programs,” said Kassidy Fox, Senior, Southeast High School.

And shared their insights with him.

“What’s good and what’s bad, what we think needs improving and what we’ve added to our school in recent years,” said Fox.

Senator Moran said a last-minute schedule change in the Senate gave him a chance to come to southeast Kansas.

“It’s always nice, particularly for me, to see how we are doing in technical and vocational education because southeast Kansas, this region of the country, has a great opportunity for growth with more jobs,” said Moran.

And Senator Moran said the opportunity for those new jobs already exists at businesses across southeast Kansas.

“They just need more people to hire, and they need more people to hire who have a technical and vocational skill set.”

Moran said visiting with schools like Southeast High School gives him first-hand knowledge of the school’s needs and a chance to interact with the students.

“I need a little inspiration every once in a while. There’s a lot of things going on in the nation’s capital that can be very discouraging.”

Moran said speaking with students like Fox helps him understand the present and future needs of schools like Southeast.

“It also motivates me to try to do my job better when I have the realization that the decisions that we make have a consequence for these students. In fact, most of the issues that we decide in Washington, D.C. will more affect somebody who’s 17, 18 years old than somebody who’s 60 or 70 years old,” he said.

And Fox said she believes the 17 and 18-year-olds Moran met Thursday are ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

“I think we have a bunch of great students that are well-rounded. We all put out a great effort, and we all are super involved and driven,” said Fox.

Senator Moran also visited Labette County High School in Altamont and Labette Community College in Parsons Thursday.