A John Marshall student opened for a series of speakers Tuesday talking about the future of education in West Virginia.
EDTalks from The Education Alliance is a state-wide series focusing on improving the education system.
WVU President Gordon Gee said improving K-12 improves higher education.
"80 percent of people educated in this country is educated in public schools," he said. "Improving K-12 is so important for the quality of life at the University."
Gee was the keynote speaker at EDTalks in Morgantown.
"The nice thing about this conference is it's bringing a lot of people who are very entrepreneurial who have thought about how to improve the quality of the educational experience," Gee said. "I think we take those ideas and put them into a matrix so we could all move forward together."
One of those people is Sierra Cook.
She will graduate from John Marshall Friday, but Tuesday she stood in front more than 100 education policy makers telling them that improving education starts at home.
"If a student doesn't want to learn, than it reflects on tests and it makes the teacher look bad," she said. "There is only so much that can be done in the classroom. Teachers don't just have one kid they have classrooms to focus on. Parents they have their lives, and I know they have busy lives but their kids should come first."
Cook won WVU's inaugural high school state-wide business plan competition, winning a scholarship to WVU.
The series' next stop will be in Charles Town on June 19th.