By DALIA SALLOUM, Staff Writer

On Monday October 21, Michigan State Representative David Knezek, a UM-Dearborn alumnus, came to discuss and inform the Alumni Affiliate of a new legislation in the state of Michigan called the Common Core academic legislation. The purpose of this meeting was simply to bring several alumni together, for a series of speeches, this being the first of many.

As a recent alumnus from UM-Dearborn, Knezek has been tremendously involved in the Michigan State Representative legislature, most notably as being a part of the Council for Education. As someone who has completed their education within the state of Michigan, more specifically as part of the Dearborn Public Schools curriculum, Knezek has first hand experience with the education in order to make legislative decisions as to what should be improved, or changed.

“Common Core is a major event that will effect our students who are part of the College of Education, Health and Human Services. This was the first of many speeches to occur and it was a good start,” said Director of Alumni Relations Peggy Pattison.

As the son of a police officer and high school lunch lady, David Knezek grew up in the local area and graduated from Crestwood High School in 2004. In his time at high school, his extracurricular activities included four-year varsity hockey and he served as Student Congress President. Already, Knezek showed promise and commitment to a diverse amount of undertakings.

After two years of college completed, however, Knezek found it in himself to set off to serve his country by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps and reported to Parris Island, South Carolina for boot camp. Later from 2007 to 2010, Knezek served two tours of duty with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines as a Scout Sniper Platoon, in Iraq. His honorary status as part of the U.S Marines has inspired many. Later, after receiving a plethora of military awards and acclamations, Knezek was honorably discharged in 2012, when he then re-enrolled at the University of Michigan- Dearborn.

Throughout his educational career at UM-Dearborn, Knezek showed initiative in taking a part of the UM-Dearborn Student Government because of a lack of representation and turned the tables around to show that students can do what he did with just the right amount of determination and perseverance. At the end of his term, he was commended for such hard work as Distinguished Student leader and a Difference Maker.

After being such an active member of student government, Knezek took his work to a whole new level and launched his campaign for Michigan State Representative, while still being a student at the UM-Dearborn. After winning a 52% vote in a four way primary and receiving a 72% of the vote in the general election, the results were overwhelming for being a 26 year old student at a local university. David became the youngest member of the 2013-14 House Democratic Caucus.

Since his work launched recently, he is serving his first term in state legislature. Knezek is a part of a vast group of honorary alumnus from the University of Michigan- Dearborn. With his high ranking, and great influence and inspiration to not only the students, but also past graduates of the University of Michigan- Dearborn, Knezek made a visit to an Alumni meeting to discuss the turn education is taking in Michigan.

“This meeting is really for the Alumni to come together back to campus and bring their ideas and recent experiences to show success,” said correspondent Mike Latvis of the External Relations Office. “Knezek is an up and coming public official and recent alumnus so it was a good way to engage the alumni with someone of high influence.”

In June 2010, the State Board of Education adopted a new legislation called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is a new set of standards for K-12, with a stress on the areas of Mathematics and English Language Arts, two of the most important fields of study that has experienced some fluctuation in recent years. These standards improved upon our current Michigan standards by instituting goals for learning and comprehension.

This new set of standards has had a lot of supporters in terms of State Boards and development centers for these goals and has had much backing in recent years to finally propose it as a final set of expectations. Representative Knezek explained the changes that would occur when this legislation takes place before the Alumni Affiliate.

“Because there were some students that were invited to take part in attending the event, it gave them an opportunity to learn more about a current event that is affecting Michigan education,” said Pattison.

The progress Representative Knezek has been making within the government shows the public just what positive, hard working, and persistent students they put out in society to become virtuous contributors of society. Because of his relationship with UM-Dearborn, it has given students and alumni an opportunity to get an inside look of current events that are surely to affect anyone who is a part of the educational system.