November 29, 2022

La Pietra Graduate Highlights Soaring Price Of College Education


U.S. Sen. Hirono (HI-D), right, with her State of the Union guest, Hawai‘i native Sierra Schmitz.
U.S. Sen. Hirono (HI-D), right, with her State of the Union guest, Hawai‘i native Sierra Schmitz.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 11, 2016) — U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Monday announced that Sierra Schmitz, a Hawaii native and current American University student, will accompany her to President Obama’s final State of the Union address tomorrow, Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016.

“While a quality education is an important key to success in today’s economy, college costs continue to skyrocket. Sierra, who is paying her own way through American University with the help of federal programs such as Pell Grants, and students like her are why I will continue to fight to ensure that everyone can afford a quality education,” Hirono said. “Students like Sierra are emblematic of the American ideal that with hard work, initiative, and ingenuity, one can achieve success. Inviting Sierra to participate in the State of the Union will help to show the American people the face of our future.”

Schmitz grew up on Hawaii Island and Oahu, and is a graduate of La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls. She is currently a sophomore at American University studying International Studies with a focus on global environmental sustainability and communications. Sierra is working her own way through college, and relies on federal resources such as Pell Grants to pay for her education. After graduation, Sierra hopes to pursue a career in environmental protection and preservation.

Schmitz will have dinner with Senator Hirono prior to the address, and will watch the State of the Union from the House of Representatives gallery. Each Senator is permitted to bring one guest to the State of the Union address.

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