Clinton to Visit Iowa School Tuesday After Students Launched Campaign

The high school in Keota, Iowa, only has 80 students.

ByABC News
December 21, 2015, 4:06 PM

— -- Abby Schulte's high school sociology class in Keota, Iowa, began the school year with this assignment: invite presidential candidates to the school to address the community. The school only has 80 students, but that didn't stop Schulte and her classmates from dreaming big.

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton will become the third presidential candidate to visit the school and students are hard at work preparing to host the Democratic front-runner. Rick Santorum and Martin O'Malley held campaign events at Keota High School earlier this year.

"We’re in overdrive decorating our whole school right now. We’ve been making phone calls all weekend inviting people to the event because we want it to be as big as possible. I don’t think we’re going to sleep at all tonight," Schulte told ABC News.

Schulte and her classmates Megan Adam and Kylea Tinnes have been leading the charge, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag #KeotaHopesForHillary. The three students will meet with Clinton before her town hall to discuss how to prevent their school from one day being dissolved into a neighboring district a good distance away.

“We do struggle with lack of funding as do other rural schools in Iowa," said Schulte.

Keota, which was named "the most extroverted" city in the U.S. in 2012, has a population of 1,000. Schulte said the closure of her high school would turn Keota into a "ghost town."

Schuyler Snakenberg, the Keota High School sociology teacher who came up with the assignment, said he couldn't be more proud of his students.

"What made the difference is that they were passionate about this project, putting in extra hours outside the school day to make this dream a reality. It demonstrates the Democratic process because you have national figures that in the end, are ultimately answerable to the American voters," said Snakenberg.

In November, the three students attended a Clinton campaign event in Coralville, Iowa. Adam asked Clinton about important issues facing rural schools.

"Most of the resources for education still come from the state and local community. And it's important that the federal government supplement what the state and local communities put into education...there should be recognition of situations like yours that are in communities where it may not make sense for you to commute a long way to go to another school, as well as all the other personal reasons that you mentioned about wanting to keep the school as the core," Clinton said at her Coralville event.

Schulte said she and her fellow students are nervous but also incredibly excited that Clinton will be arriving at their school.

“I’m hoping people will see how important small schools and small towns are. Students from small schools have a voice too," Schulte told ABC. "Nobody ever thought that three students from a small school could do this."