RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Secretary of Defense has payed a visit to his old middle school in Richland, surprising the students.
The Richland School District announced Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited some classrooms Friday at Chief Joseph Middle School, where he also attended middle school.
Mattis, who grew up in Richland, encouraged students to be dedicated to do well in school for success later in life.
The district said Secretary Mattis attended Chief Joseph in the 1960s before graduating from Richland High School, then known as Columbia High School. This was his first time touring the school since he attended.
According to a press release, students asked the alumnus questions about his years at the middle school and the military, as well as about his current role serving in President Trump's Cabinet.
“It’s just cool that someone in that high of authority came from our town,” said eighth-grader Olivia Merz.
Principal Kevin Norris says the school was excited to welcome Secretary Mattis and give students an opportunity to interact with someone from their own community who has served the country for decades and has a prominent role in the federal government.